According to this article, the court they set up to deal with a great many issues specific to the Loin is doing little to actually help the problem:
More than half of the cases brought to San Francisco’s new Community Justice Center – the Tenderloin court that prosecutes the low-level crimes that plague the neighborhood – are discharged, including more than 90 percent of the cases involving sleeping outside, blocking sidewalks and creating a public nuisance.
What’s awesome is that according to the stats, they process something like five cases a day and of those, they dismiss half of them. First off, this caseload is pathetic given that most of the cases probably involve, “Sir, were you sleeping on the sidewalk of the 400 block of Turk Street?” “Yes, your honor, I was.” “Case closed.” And how do so many get dismissed? Oh, they’re hard to prove. Great. So, basically we have a court that cost some $2.7 million to start up which is doing nothing to help the neighborhood in which is was set up to help. Yeah, I know know, they cite the four people they’ve gotten in to programs which means that they’re effectively helping 0.9% of the people who come through their doors.
I’m not saying that people sleeping on the sidewalks need to go to jail. Far from it. I’m saying that the nearly three million dollars spent on this court system could be better spent working in the community and not as some arm of the city. Beat cops help police the area at a very local level. Social programs in the Loin work directly with those affected. Hell, I’d even be in favor of just throwing this money at people living on the sidewalk as I get the feeling it would do more good and be way more fun than the waste that is the SJC.
I mean, at the very least, how about having more than 7% of the SJC advisory board be from the actual community? And why the hell is Bevan Dufty on this board? His district is nowhere near the affected area. It all reeks of argh…