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News items related to Kate McCracken

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Asm. Ammiano: “We can’t punish them into success”

Today, the state Assembly Select Committee on Justice Reinvestment held a hearing on juvenile justice reform. The experts unanimously emphasized data collection and use in decision making.

The Negative Impact of Solitary Confinement on Youth

“Punitive segregation” and “therapeutic modules” describe interventions correctional facility staff use on confined youth. These interventions might sound innocuous, but what do they really look like?

How to Address Pain for Life

Restorative practices are essential to improving the framework of our justice system. This new lens values the connection between the victim, offender, and the community. It allows for meaningful dialogue.

Planning for the future of justice-involved youth

Dispositional case planning is the heart of juvenile probation services. It is the art of crafting a case plan presented to the Judge describing the recommended provision of services for the justice-involved youth.

Ella Baker Has a New Boss; Meet Problem-Solver Zach Norris

This article featured in the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange discusses new leadership at the Ella Baker Center in Oakland.

Congregate Care Facilities are a Thing of the Past

Photographer Richard Ross documents youth correctional facilities across the nation.  This blogs explores why these facilities are an outdated approach to juvenile justice.

California’s Sentencing Quagmire: Is a Commission the Solution?

A statewide Sentencing Commission could initiate much needed sentencing reform and end the prison crisis in the long-term.

Commercial bail vs. Pretrial services

As you walk down Bryant Street in San Francisco, there are many neon-lit signs advertising for available bail services increasing as you move closer to the Hall of Justice.  San Francisco is the birthplace of the bail industry, but in recent years, the county has begun to explore pretrial services that are not driven by commercial enterprise.

Who is causing crime in California?

Sensationalized stories and anecdotal information in the media over the past year may make you want to hide behind a closed door.  In 2011, Realignment caused great concern that floods of state inmates would walk out of state prison and into the streets.  This of course was not true, but over the last year media stories have highlighted concerns that Realignment is causing more local crime. 

Kate McCracken presenting at the SF Public Defenders Justice Summit 2013

On Tuesday, March 19, 2013, the San Francisco Public Defender's Office is hosting its annual Justice Summit for 2013, celebrating 50 years of Gideon

Community-based practices that repair harm

In the field of juvenile and criminal justice you often hear a buzzing in your ears and it’s the sound of buzz words like “restorative justice.”  Words highlighting model practices are often utilized widely in this field, but what do these practices really mean.  What do these practices really look like when implemented in the community?

A Prosecutor's Innovative Response to Realignment
Over one year into Realignment, local justice stakeholders across the state remain challenged by the responsibility of serving an increased number of offenders.  Some jurisdictions approach this new era as an opportunity for innovation and creativity, whereas others view it as the state skirting its responsibility.  San Francisco, in keeping with its history of self-reliance, approached Realignment as a chance to implement community-based practices that support rehabilitation while achieving…
Unnecessary incarceration: What are the consequences?
Have you ever been in a room of highly educated individuals discussing sentencing and bail reform in California?  I was just recently.  On Tuesday November 27, 2012 I attended the Little Hoover Commission hearing as an expert witness.  The conversation was extremely dynamic and thought provoking with significant dialogue on the fairness and constitutionality of the uniform bail industry in California.  Despite the varying intricacies discussed there was a glaring omission: the collateral…
Local Reform in a Realigned Environment
Local Reform in a Realigned Environment
Counties using pretrial services to reduce jail overcrowding safely
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 25, 2012 San Francisco, CA : While 32 out of 58 counties in California are planning to add new jail beds to fulfill new AB 109 realignment responsibilities, a new report identifies counties that have developed cost-effective ways to alleviate and maximize on their existing jail space without compromising public safety. These models and practices could be modified and replicated in other jurisdictions that are currently struggling with overcrowded jails. Best…
WEBINAR: Local reform in a realigned environment, Sept. 27, 2012
On September 27, 2012 at 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm, Scott MacDonald , Chief Probation Officer of Santa Cruz County, and CJCJ's Kate McCracken will present on Local reform in a realigned environment . This webinar will address the local impact of realignment and that jurisdictions must examine targeted strategies to achieve public safety goals while effectively directing limited resources. It will highlight the Santa Cruz experience and the value of data-driven techniques to deliberately restructure…
Those closest to the problem should be at the forefront of the solution
In an era of Realignment, who should be involved in determining the local jurisdictions' implementation plans?  Currently, this responsibility is maintained with the Community Corrections Partnerships (CCP) in each of California's 58 counties.  The CCP is lead by the Chief Probation Officer and includes but is not limited to the District Attorney, Public Defender, Sheriff and Chief of Police.  There is one seat designated for a representative of a community-based organization serving formerly…
San Francisco leading the way to sentencing reform
In the face of historic opposition to a statewide sentencing commission, San Francisco County established a local sentencing commission January 2012 to address the county's sentencing policies and practices. Twenty-two states across the U.S. have established sentencing commissions to assist in the development and administration of a fair justice system.  Policy makers require strong data-analysis to inform the previous and future decisions centered on sentencing policies and practices.  Data…
Legislation to provide more opportunities for unsentenced detainees
In California, local county jail bed space is not always for the guilty.  Approximately 50,000 un-sentenced individuals are confined to the state's county jails, awaiting their time before a judge.  A majority of these individuals are confined to local jails because they are not able to post bail .  This contributes to the 71% state average of un-sentenced individuals in county jails.  These individuals have not necessarily been deemed a flight-risk or a danger to society; they just lack the…
Deliberate strategies in Santa Cruz alleviate jail space
California has seen a dramatic increase in state and local incarceration rates since the 1970's.  The current crisis confronting state and county justice systems is the product of what is now recognized as poorly conceived correctional policy and decision making primarily at the state level.  The massive rate of incarceration was avoidable.  A CJCJ recent analysis , conducted with the support and collaboration of the Santa Cruz County Probation and Sheriff Departments and the County's Superior…
Lessons Learned: The Santa Cruz County Story
Lessons Learned: The Santa Cruz County Story
An analysis of San Mateo proposal for jail construction
A recent ACLU report found that that 24 of the 25 largest California counties plan on using realigned state funding to pay for dramatic expansions of jail beds.   CJCJ's Brian Heller de Leon reviewed the report in his blog, Adult realignment and the county jail building boom . The ACLU report notes, "Counties that have chosen a path of jail expansion - as many of the Big 25 county realignment plans indicate they have - are trying to solve the wrong problem.  They seek to absorb the realigned…
CJCJ's Kate McCracken appointed to SF Sentencing Commission
The San Francisco Sentencing Commission is a newly created advisory body charged with encouraging the development of criminal sentencing strategies that reduce recidivism, prioritize public safety and victim protection, emphasize fairness, employ evidence-based practices, and efficiently utilize San Francisco's criminal justice resources.  The Commission will be chaired by the District Attorney's Office, and will be advisory to the Mayor and Board of Supervisors. On April 24, 2012, CJCJ's…
Accused Probation Chief Is Face of Juvenile Justice Reform Effort
Accused Probation Chief Is Face of Juvenile Justice Reform Effort Bay Citizen, February 15, 2012
Why taxpayers should care about juvenile justice
Last week Governor Brown proposed, for the second time, the closure of California's state youth correctional facilities, the Division of Juvenile Facilities (DJF).  In fact, this week CJCJ released a report  including five policy recommendations for full juvenile justice realignment.  CJCJ has been advocating for a 21st century approach to juvenile justice for years.  CJCJ is not alone is this recommendation, the Legislative Analyst's Office, Little Hoover Commission, and the Ella Baker Center…

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