SF DA hopes to break generational cycle of incarceration through diversion program for parents

The San Francisco District Attorney's Office will implement a new state law meant to keep parents of minor children out of jail. 

Sen. Nancy Skinner authored SB 394, which was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in October. The bill creates a pretrial diversion program for parents who are primary caregivers of children under the age of 18. 

The San Francisco District Attorney's Office said the program is effective immediately for those who are eligible in hopes of breaking the generational cycle of incarceration. 

The diversion program covers people charged with any misdemeanor offenses as well as some felonies. 

A court will determine if the accused person poses an unreasonable risk of danger to the public. 

Eligible defendants can earn a dismissal through the program that also includes parenting classes.

"I grew up visiting my parents behind bars. I know the kind of trauma the sudden loss of a parent can have on a child," District Attorney Chesa Boudin said in a statement. "This is about taking responsibility, protecting the sanctity of the family, and ensuring innocent children are not condemned to repeat the mistakes of their parents.”