SF Board of Supervisors introduces legislation to eliminate criminal justice fees

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The City of San Francisco is looking to eliminate criminal justice fees ranging from probation fees to electronic monitoring fees and booking fees.

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"Today we're going to make history," said Board of Supervisors President London Breed, joining city leaders, Tuesday.

The fees, Breed said, create barriers for people attempting to turn their lives around, and the city only collects between 9 and 15 percent of the fees.

"They're counterproductive, problematic, sources of revenue, born on the backs of our most vulnerable populations in San Francisco," Breed said. "We're not having it anymore."

Noe Gudino, who said he made mistakes as a young person, explained that criminal justice fees related to petty theft and robbery charges have made it difficult for him to re-enter society.

"At the point where you get out, it's a critical moment, where you want to dance both sides, because this is what you knew before and this came easier," said Gudino.

That's something supervisors are now trying to improve.

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"We put people who are trying to make the best of a tough situation in an unattainable position," said Supervisor Malia Cohen.

The San Francisco Sheriff's Department also said it would drop electronic monitoring fees and work-program fees as part of the proposed legislation.

"It is good policy to do all that we can to aid offenders in their successful re-entry into San Francisco," said Undersheriff Matthew Freeman.

The proposal, which Breed called a "collaboration," also has the support of the San Francisco Public Defender's Office and San Francisco District Attorney.

"From a fiscal standpoint, a social justice standpoint and a public safety standpoint, this policy really makes a lot of sense," said San Francisco District Attorney's Office Spokesperson Maxwell Szabo.

The legislation is expected to be heard at committee next month.

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