SAN FRANCISCO—On Thursday, June 11, the California Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) awarded $1.9 million to Community Works West to support their expansion of the “Make It Right” restorative justice program in San Francisco.
Community Works West is an Oakland based non-profit organization that “empowers people impacted by incarceration”, and works “on the front lines to advocate for a more humane criminal justice system.”
Since 2013, Community Works has partnered with the San Francisco District Attorney’s office to implement “Make It Right,” a pre-charge restorative justice diversion program for arrested youth under the age of 18. Individuals in this program take part in a restorative conference that helps them take accountability for the harm they have done and develop a rehabilitative plan in accordance with everyone who was affected including the victim. Youth who successfully complete the program are ultimately diverted from the justice system.
According to former San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón’s 2019 annual report, “Youth who have completed the program have a 24-month recidivism rate of just 13% – while similar young people who experienced the traditional justice system response had a recidivism rate of 53%.”
The BSCC grant will allow Community Works West to offer the program to more youth and expand it to young adults up to the age of 25, who would otherwise continue to be served through the adult justice system.
In a press release announcing the grant, current San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin said, “When survivors of crime are involved in decisions about how we hold people who have caused harm accountable, remarkable things happen – like restoration and repair.”