This Candidate For DA In San Francisco Has A Plan To Tackle Racial Disparities In The Justice System
Chesa Boudin is running for district attorney in San Francisco. At a forum hosted by Project Rebound, Boudin was asked about the growing white supremacy in the U.S. and his plans to combat it. The candidate did not shy away from the question and attacked it head-on in English and Spanish to be inclusive. Here’s what he had to say.
San Francisco DA candidate Chesa Boudin is on a mission to tackle the growing issue of white supremacy in the U.S.
The candidate was asked directly how he would combat white supremacy if he was the district attorney of San Francisco. To that end, Boudin sharted his answer with the audience in English and Spanish so everyone could be included in the discussion.
Before anything, Boudin started by discussing the history of the U.S. and the ingrained racism in the country.
“We need to start with a history that goes way back before this country,” Boudin told the audience. “We need to recognize that in this country, the United States, racism has very deep roots. Very deep.”
Boudin added: “So when you talk about white supremacy, that’s not a joke. That’s what’s happening today in the White House.”
Boudin told the audience that we can’t ignore racism and white supremacy, which is everywhere.
“That’s why I’ve committed toa whole series of policies that are on my website, to fight back against white supremacy and against racism,” Boudin said.
Boudin also committed to creating an immigration unit within the DA’s office to counter the issues facing the community.
His impassioned speech caught people’s attention across the U.S.
Project Rebound, the organization that hosted the forum, is dedicated to helping formerly incarcerated people to reenter society. Project Rebound helps people who were incarcerated by enrolling them in classes at the San Francisco State University and supports them on their journey. The organization strives to reduce recidivism rates through education and career building.
Boudin is the child of incarcerated parents. His mother and father were getaway drivers at the Brink’s robbery in Nanuet, New York in 1981. It was an armed robbery that led to the death of one Brink’s guard and two Nyack police officers. His mother was sentenced to 20 years to life while his father was sentenced to 75 years in connection to the crime. They were both members of the Weather Underground, a left militant organization.
Some people are celebrating Boudin’s unapologetic approach to discussing white supremacy and racism in the U.S.
Boudin ended his conversation about white supremacy and racism with a simple sentence.
“If we can’t name it, how are we ever going to beat it,” Boudin said.
Boudin has laid out how he plans to tackle racial disparities while in office.
Here are four points Boudin has committed to in his fight against racial disparity, according to his website.
- Commit to transparent decision-making. The criminal justice system can’t be fair if it isn’t also transparent. And right now, it’s anything but. The office will publish data about the demographics of people stopped, arrested, jailed, convicted, and sentenced to increase the transparency and accountability of every agency involved in the system. There is no excuse for obscuring this information from public view, and by forcing us to grapple more seriously with the racist outcomes the system produces, we will be better equipped to change them.
- Require a racial impact statement in every case. The racist outcomes produced by our criminal justice system will be less tolerable when decision-makers are regularly forced to confront them. Accordingly, prosecutors will be required to state on the record–in open court and before the judge–the racial bias statistics relevant to the stage of the case being addressed. For example, before asking that an African American defendant be detained prior to trial, a prosecutor must state on the record the percentage of African Americans in jail on pretrial detention and the percentage of African Americans who reside in San Francisco. Before making a sentencing recommendation, a prosecutor must state the disparity in sentences among Black and White defendants.
- Implement race-blind charging and plea bargaining. We should do everything we can to make sure that neither explicit nor implicit biases impact decisions made by the District Attorney’s Office. Prosecutors will not know the demographic information of people before filing charges. The office will explore applying the same process for plea bargains, having a second prosecutor review a file, blind to demographic information, before making an initial plea offer.
- No more prosecuting racist gang enhancements. When a person is convicted of a felony, they may be sentenced to time in prison. Under Penal Code § 186.22, part of the California Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act (STEP Act), prosecutors can seek additional prison time beyond that received for the underlying felony when the person accused of the crime is found to be gang-involved. But here’s the thing: This mechanism, known as a “gang enhancement,” is racist, ineffective, and unnecessary.
You can read Boudin’s full racial disparity plan here.
For Boudin, the integrity of the entire judicial system is questioned when racism prevails.
“When our criminal justice system treats people differently based on the color of their skin, the integrity of the entire system is undermined,” reads Boudin’s website. “Individuals and entire communities come to distrust law enforcement, making our city not only less just, but also less safe. Eradicating racism from our society is a long project, and one we need to take on much more seriously than we have. The criminal justice system, capable of producing incalculable harm, is an important place to start.”
Some people are thankful for someone who is willing to move the conversation forward using inclusivity.
Boudin’s plan is bold and has voters excited as the Nov. 5 election for the San Francisco district attorney fast approaches.
You can watch the full video below and see what Boudin has planned.
What do you think about Boudin’s plan to tackle white supremacy and racism?
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