Chronic drunks in San Francisco could soon be sentenced to locked treatment for as long as six months, under a plan that has the green light from Mayor Ed Lee, says the San Francisco Chronicle. “We’ve done pretty well at getting some of these individuals to a point where they clean up a little bit – but when you leave them alone, they go right back to their old ways,” Lee said of the city’s current policy of releasing drunks when they sober up.
Under a plan being worked out by the city courts, the cops and the Public Health Department, chronic drunks who repeatedly miss their court dates would be held in contempt – five days for each missed appearance. Contempt citations are handled by a judge – no trial required – although defendants still have the right to an attorney. Considering that some street drunks have missed 20 or more court dates, rolling the citations into one could result in a hefty piece of time. That’s the idea – take them off the street and force them into the treatment program they have repeatedly refused.