Newly created commission tasked to develop innovative, evidence-based sentencing strategies</p>
Theshia Naidoo, a senior staff attorney for the Drug Policy Alliance, has been appointed to the San Francisco Sentencing Commission. The commission is a newly created body charged with developing criminal sentencing strategies that reduce recidivism, prioritize public safety and victim protection, emphasize fairness, employ evidence-based best practices and efficiently utilize San Francisco’s criminal justice resources.
The Sentencing Commission is the first of its kind in California, and the commission will have the ability to look critically at San Francisco’s drug enforcement practices and explore areas for drug law reform. Under criminal justice realignment, cities and counties can make meaningful changes in the way they deal with drug offenses, and the commission and its recommendations will be a model for other counties and the state as a whole.
“Theshia’s appointment by the Board of Supervisors shows that San Francisco is serious about improving drug sentencing law and practice here,” says Laura Thomas, California deputy state director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “San Francisco has long been a model city for drug policy reform, and this is an opportunity to pilot innovative, evidence-based practices that will reduce recidivism and improve community health and safety. DPA is honored to be a part of this new effort.”
Naidoo, a staff attorney with Drug Policy Alliance, works on litigation, legislative drafting and public education efforts concerning drug policy reform, including California’s Proposition 36, the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act of 2000. She provides legal advice, counsel and training on drug policy, including securing access to medical marijuana and promoting drug treatment instead of incarceration. She often serves as a guest speaker on criminal justice and drug policy at law schools, universities and other institutions.
Naidoo received her B.A. in political science from the University of California Berkeley and she received her J.D. from the University of California Los Angeles School of Law.
The 13-member commission consists of: Karen Roye, Department of Child Support Services (Re-entry Council Appointee); Minouche Kandel, Bay Area Legal Aid (Non-profit organization chosen by the Family Violence Council); Catherine McCracken (Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice); Theshia Naidoo, Drug Policy Alliance (Board of Supervisors appointee); Steven Rafael (academic researcher appointed by the Mayor); District Attorney George Gascón; Public Defender Jeff Adachi; Adult Probation Chief Wendy Still; Juvenile Probation Chief Bill Sifferman; Sheriff Hennessy; Police Chief Greg Suhr; Barbara Garcia, Department of Public Health); and a Superior Court representative.