San Francisco’s Progressive DA is an Advocate of Restorative Justice
NPR recently aired an interview with Chesa Boudin, San Francisco’s newest District Attorney, who narrowly won the race on a platform of radically overhauling how that office handles crime and punishment.
He also promises to launch what could become the nation’s largest experiment with restorative justice.
“I want to give every victim of every crime in San Francisco the right to participate in restorative justice if they choose to,” he said. “It’s going to take time, and it’s going to take work, and we’re going to have to see how many victims want to engage in the process. Some won’t, but this is about putting victims first.”
He will need funding and buy-in from city and state agencies and the police force to enact his agenda, and yet he has already encountered strong opposition from police unions.
Boudin’s reformist views were shaped by his personal story. Like more than half of all Americans, he has an immediate family member behind bars.
“Years now, decades, of visiting my parents behind bars taught me hard lessons about how…devoid of compassion [the criminal justice system] is. It’s not healing the harm that victims experience. It’s not rehabilitating people. And in many ways, it’s making us less safe.”