Organizations representing criminal legal system reform, racial justice, and progressives advocates released the following statement on the recall of San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin:
“More than ever, those of us committed to ending mass incarceration must stand firm in our resolve against fear mongering tactics that seek to maintain the status quo. Under San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, San Francisco invested in true public safety. Thousands of people now benefit from diversion programs to address their unmet mental health and substance use needs. Wealth no longer determines whether someone is released or stays in jail simply because they cannot afford bail. Declining to prosecute the lowest-level cases to focus resources on solving violent crimes reduces recidivism and promotes public safety.
“We cannot turn back the clock on these important steps toward a safer and fairer criminal legal system. The recall effort against DA Boudin was a well-funded and well-coordinated campaign of unprecedented might to unseat one of the most prominent figures of the justice reform movement. Contrary to the sensationalist headlines and claims behind this recall effort, we know the ineffective, punishment-focused policies of the past are not how we achieve public safety or deliver justice.
“While these results are not what we hoped for, every election and every recall develops from a different set of circumstances and this recall is an outlier within the overall movement for justice reform. DA Boudin was up against a campaign to falsely blame him for crime trends beyond his control. Other reform-minded prosecutors have been able to withstand significant backlash and win reelection, from Philadelphia’s Larry Krasner to Satana DeBerry in North Carolina and Kim Foxx in Chicago. The recall will not make San Francisco any safer but will threaten the progress that has been made so far.
“Everyone deserves to feel safe in their community. Reform-minded prosecutors, policymakers, community organizers, and advocates have demonstrated that there are solutions that truly make our communities safer. While there is still work to be done, now is not a time to give into the fearmongering and politics of despair that would have us go backward. Instead, our leaders must stand behind the proven solutions that help make every community a safe, free, and just place to call home.”
Drug Policy Alliance
Vera Institute of Justice
Working Families Party