San Francisco's new District Attorney, Chesa Boudin, leads with compassion

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco's newly elected District Attorney, Chesa Boudin, grew up with his parents in prison. His mother served 22 years behind bars, and his father may spend the rest of his life in prison.

His parents drove a getaway car in a heist that left three people dead.

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On Saturday, when Boudin learned he had won the tight race, he was on a plane flying back to San Francisco from New York, where he was visiting his father in prison.

"I have compassion for everyone caught up in the criminal justice system."

San Francisco's newly elected District Attorney, Chesa Boudin, says that compassion extends to those arrested, charged with, and convicted of crimes.

"Seventy-five percent of the people entering San Francisco County jail are drug-addicted, mentally ill, or both. And until we make it easier to get help than it is to get high in San Francisco, it doesn't matter how tough we are, we're going to have those same problems."

As top prosecutor, Boudin wants to implement a program, similar to the one he started at San Francisco's public defender's officer, where lawyers interview people as soon as they've been arrested.

"Get better information before we file charges that informs whether we file charges, what charges we file, and what kind of supervision we think someone needs to avoid getting arrested again."

As for the quality of life crimes that plague city streets, Boudin says he wants SFPD to use more sophisticated policing to make arrests and takedown car burglary rings.

"They're not just going to get tourists or residents backpacks, they might get a police tracking device."

Kate Larsen: "Can you be specific about what you'd like to do here in San Francisco, what folks can expect from your DA's office?

Chesa Boudin: "My commitment is that my victim's services unit will call and reach out to every victim of every crime, within 48 hours of filing a new case."

Boudin wants to reduce the prison population and spend more time prosecuting serious and violent crimes, rather than misdemeanors. But he needs to start, by working with the powers that be.

Mayor London Breed endorsed his opponent, Suzy Loftus. And, SFPD's union has called Boudin's positions "dangerous".
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