Restorative Justice Becomes Prominent in San Francisco DA Campaign


Restorative justice, which brings together offenders, victims, and community members to discuss the impact of a crime and help repair the damage through accountability and rehabilitation rather than punishment, is getting prominence in the San Francisco district attorney's race, the New York Times reports. David Onek, a lawyer, a former police commissioner, and founder of the Berkeley Center for Criminal Justice, has led the charge, making incarceration alternatives and restorative justice the centerpiece of his campaign.

“Do you know what happens when you're locked up?” he said. “You sleep all day and watch daytime TV. You're watching Jerry Springer, and someone feeds you three hot meals a day. Admitting what you did, confronting your actions, hearing from a victim about the impact that things have had on them, that's tough.” George Gascón, the former police chief who was appointed district attorney in January when his predecessor, Kamala Harris, became state attorney general, has embraced the cause as well. That has raised some eyebrows, as Gascón, the presumptive favorite in the race, is considered to be well to the right on San Francisco's left-leaning political spectrum. A third candidate, Sharmin Bock, a 22-year Alameda County prosecutor, is also promoting the concept.

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