Deliberate low-cost population management strategies are of fundamental importance to local jurisdictions that seek to avoid overreliance on incarceration. Over the past 20 years, CJCJ has partnered with the San Francisco Sheriff's Department (SFSD) to alleviate chronic overcrowding in the San Francisco County Jails through targeted, low-cost, effective alternatives. Several of the resulting programs have made significant impacts on the detained populations, and can be replicated in other counties around the country.
Supervised Misdemeanor Release Program
Supervised Misdemeanor Release Program (SMRP) was operated by CJCJ from 1987 to 2009. The program provided community supervision for individuals in custody on misdemeanor bench warrants. SMRP demonstrated that many individuals considered unlikely to appear for court dates will indeed return as ordered, so long as they are provided with guidance and supervision in the community. Studies conducted in 2001 and 2004 concluded that 84% of SMRP clients kept their promise to appear and returned to court. In December 2009, the San Francisco Sheriff's Department successfully assumed SMRP operations.
Intensive Supervised Probation Program
Intensive Supervised Probation Program (ISP) was operated by CJCJ from 2003 to 2009. ISP provided community supervision for probation violators as an alternative to custody. The program demonstrated that many probationers can be supervised in the community during their pretrial detention period, rather than requiring incarceration. ISP linked clients with various case management, educational, vocational, and medical services, and, when appropriate, enrolled clients in substance abuse treatment programs. In December 2009, the San Francisco Sheriff's Department successfully assumed ISP operations.
"No Local" Citation Project
"No Local" Citation Project was operated by CJCJ from 1991 to 1997. The program addressed a growing number of homeless defendants ineligible for citation release for lack of a physical address. This project targeted homeless offenders charged with misdemeanor offenses or infraction warrants. Between 1991 and 1997, the "No Local" Citation Project facilitated the release of more than 1,700 people with compliance/return-to-court rate of 76%. Due to the project's extraordinary success, the SFSD changed their citation policies in 1997 to include homeless individuals.
Homeless Release Project
Homeless Release Project (HRP) was operated by CJCJ from 1996 to 2007. The project provided community supervision and individualized treatment to homeless individuals with pending criminal charges. Care plans typically involved obtaining temporary or permanent housing, entering a substance abuse program, and accessing mental health or medical treatment. 85% of HRP clients dealt with substance abuse and 50% had been diagnosed with a co-occurring mental illness. HRP networked with other community-based organizations, working flexibly and effectively with this challenging population. In 2007, the San Francisco Pretrial Diversion Project consolidated HRP services into its existing programs. To learn more, read Impact of the Homeless Release Project.
Connections was operated by CJCJ from 2001 to 2007. It was a collaborative program that provided intensive community supervision to pretrial low-level mentally ill offenders. The program was initialized by the city of San Francisco with funding from the Mentally Ill Offender Crime Reduction Grant (MIOCRG), a joint project of the California State Sheriffs' Association and the Mental Health Association. This program eventually became a part of CJCJ’s Homeless Release Project.
To apply for technical assistance services to replicate these model programs or for more information, please contact:
Daniel Macallair, Executive Director
Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice
40 Boardman Place
San Francisco, CA 94103
415-621-5661 ext. 111