Monday, January 14, 2013

The Drug Czar Visits the Community Court in San Francisco

R. Gil Kerlikowske (left), director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, visits Judge Lillian Sing at the Community Justice Center. Photo: Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle / SF

Last week, R. Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy visited the San Francisco Community Justice Center. The San Francisco Justice Center was inspired in part by the ground breaking work of the Midtown Community Court and the Red Hook Community Justice Center. Speaking (writing) as a member of the larger community court movement, I’m personally encouraged that decision-makers like the nation’s drug czar continue to recognize the accomplishments and the underlying potential of the community court model. Director Kerlikowske noted:

"Most courts around the country think people are arrested for a drug violation," he said. "We see district attorneys who say, 'Why put them into services? Let them do 30 days in jail. And then when they re-offend, let them do another 30 days.' Here you are seeing the nexus of the drug issue, which is that there are other problems, addiction and mental health. That is what is so impressive."

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