San Francisco DA Faces Recall Election

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Chesa Boudin, the district attorney of San Francisco, will face a recall election next year after a backlash to his policies aimed at reducing the number of people in jails and prisons, reports the New York Times. Boudin has faced sharp pushback from conservative activists, as well as other residents concerned about public safety, who say that he is not taking a hard enough line on crime and that his policies have made San Francisco less safe.  Boudin’s office has also seen high rates of turnover, with some prosecutors resigning in protest of the department’s policies. One homicide prosecutor in the office, who actually supported Boudin’s prorgressive efforts, recently resigned and has supported the recall effort, citing mismanagement and low morale.

Boudin framed the recall effort as driven by traditional law-and-order conservatives who want to roll back his efforts, such as not asking judges for cash bail, seeking more lenient sentences and sending fewer juveniles to prison. However, the coalition lining up against Boudin also includes Democrats and others who identify as progressive but believe that Boudin’s policies are too radical. San Francisco voters have embraced the notion of transforming the criminal justice system by locking away fewer people but at the same time have grown weary of petty crime and scenes of despair on city streets. Major crimes were down 23 percent overall last year, according to the San Francisco Police Department, even as burglaries and auto thefts rose.

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