SAN FRANCISCO, CA— The city of San Francisco has struggled to find a solution to the repeated episodes of inebriates who wander or are just passed out on the streets. The current method of handling this situation by San Francisco police officers is taking those people to a hospital to be treated. Once they have recuperated, the individual is given a citation that must be signed for public drunkenness, and explains that he/she has to appear in court. The setback with this approach is that some people throw away the citation making it difficult to stop them from continuing their act.
The District Attorney’s Office decided to gather individuals with more than 20 “failure to appear” citations, however, their list surpassed 100 in total. As a result, the district attorney, police, sheriff’s department and courts came to a common agreement to implement other ways in order to bring to a halt the situation.
The new approach from authorities is to narrow their long list and focus on the seven worst offenders. They were taken by police and jailed for two days early in the mornings before the individuals were began drinking. On Friday they stood before Superior Court Judge Garrett Wong who delivered the news that for every missed appearance in jailed, they’d be subject of spending five days in jail. As an effort to make the program successful, the defendants were offered the choice of serving time in jail or joining a monitored addiction treatment program, but if they miss a day they’d have to back to court.
Public Defender Jeff Adachi found a defendant who chose to serve jail time and claims that having the defendant go in front of a judge and not a jury goes against due process. However, everyone agrees that the main issue is having to wait for someone under arrest to become sober again in order to place a court order.
By Jennifer Alcaraz