In early 2021, the Care First Coalition was deeply engaged in a budget battle at the State level, in which we were trying to wrest $140 million away from Probation-led pretrial services. The data is clear: pretrial services that are effective, substantive, and fiscally responsible are achievable via community-based organizations such as SF Pretrial…but not through CA Probation Department, who spent nearly 12 times more than decentralized services, for fewer actual services, and with a much higher recidivism rate.
This was our letter of opposition to CA legislators.
“Dear Pro Tem Atkins and Senators Skinner and Durazo, Everyone deserves the presumption of innocence. In fact, this is our Constitutional right. In practice, 3 in 4 persons in CA county jails are held pre-trial, meaning they have not been convicted. We appreciate the Governor’s urgency to improve the state’s existing pretrial system (2nd highest pretrial incarceration rate in the US) and help end mass incarceration. But the Governor’s approach is misguided. It would greatly expand probation (law enforcement) supervision of individuals who have not been found guilty of a crime, in ways that result in higher incarceration rates long-term. We ask that you reject this proposal. Funding these programs at a scale of $140 million in 2021–22 and $70 million ongoing would be a dramatic re-investment in the root causes of mass incarceration.”