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September 2015 - ISSUE 32
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© 2015
San Francisco
Sheriff's Department
Ross Mirkarimi
A Message from Sheriff  
Ross Mirkarimi

This month we have much to celebrate! We are honored to receive Harvard University's Innovations in American Government Award, including a substantial grant that will allow the program to significantly expand. While Five Keys Executive Director Steve Good and I accepted the award on behalf of the department, recognition also belongs to former Sheriff Mike Hennessey for his vision, to our sworn and civilian staff for their commitment to our mission, and to the thousands of inmates who accepted the challenge to improve their lives through education. Earlier this year, we partnered with City College to provide more advanced education and vocational opportunities. We believe that this is time well spent while inmates serve their sentences - and hope that they will never again see the inside of our jail.

We also must celebrate the first-time ever certification of our department's Field Officer Training Program by California's Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST).  This enables properly trained and certified sheriff deputies to patrol the streets, as in other counties. Considering that this was never accomplished in the history of the SF Sheriff's Department, nor POST, since their beginning in 1959, a major milestone has been achieved -- an effort more than two years in the making. Now it will come down to City Hall's political will and smart public safety coordination to turn this opportunity into a reality. As national and local recognition grows for community policing, the availability of additional officers is a valuable City resource. This training certification also provides our sworn staff with opportunities for professional growth and career advancement.

We are taking important steps to accord transgender inmates their legal rights and to recognize their needs. Transgender women will soon participate in the women's Five Keys Charter High school, substance abuse, and other reentry programs in order to best facilitate their return to the community -- as afforded to all of our inmates -- while they undergo their transition. Secondly, we will begin staff training to eventually allow transgender individuals to be housed with their self-identified gender. This is not a policy to simply let inmates pick where they want to stay. The safety of staff and inmates remains our first priority. Transgender individuals receive extensive screening and counseling to ensure that appropriate placements are made and that the dignity of all inmates is respected.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the fine work of our warrant division in coordinating with their colleagues in the U.S. Marshal's Service to locate and apprehend a fugitive from Texas. Our staff continues to work diligently everyday to ensure public safety.

 Five Keys Named Top Public Innovator in U.S.A. by Harvard University
Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi and Five Keys Executive Director Steve Good accept 2015 Innovations in American Government Award from Harvard University's Marty Mauzy.

Lauding its forward-thinking programs, representatives from Harvard University on September 22, 2015, presented Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi and SFSD's Five Keys Charter High School Executive Director, Steve Good, with the University's prestigious 2015 Innovations in American Government (IAG) Award -- for Five Keys' outstanding contributions to education in California's county jail system.
Selected for vanguarding some of government's most urgent challenges, SFSD's Five Keys Charter High School prevailed over a field of 450 other applicants to win both the award and $100,000 in grant monies. Some of the school's newest initiatives include a popular in-jail aquaponics program through which inmates qualify for post-release employment opportunities in aquaponics farming, and an in-custody and post-custody community college program launched in collaboration with City College of San Francisco. The SFSD is the only law enforcement agency in the nation to win the Harvard's IAG award twice -- the department's Resolve to Stop the Violence Program accepted the award in 2004.
Founded in 2003, Five Keys is the first public charter high school in the U.S. to operate in an adult detention facility. The in-jail schools help to create safer communities, reduce tax dollars spent on incarceration, and afford inmates the skills they'll need to rejoin communities and their families upon release.
In addition to the Innovations in American Government Award, Five Keys is also the recipient of the 2015 Pioneer Institute Better Government Competition and the 2014 Hart Vision Award for Charter School of the Year (Northern California).

The Innovations in American Government Awards is the nation's preeminent program devoted to recognizing and promoting excellence and creativity in the public sector.

SFSD Acquires POST Certification for Field Officer Training Program
For the first time in its departmental history, the SFSD  has acquired the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certification for its Field Training Officer (FTO) program, effective August 14,    2015, enabling deputy sheriffs to patrol City streets. The SFSD joins sheriff's departments in the state's other 57 counties, all of which are POST certified - considered to be a proud honor and tradition among state law enforcement agencies. POST sets the industry standard for law enforcement agencies in the state.
"Decades ago, an inherent public safety caste system emerged at significant expense to the taxpayer by limiting the scope and professional development capacity of the sheriff's department," stated Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi. "With this credential, a historical barrier is removed."
The implementation of the FTO program curriculum, which was developed with great care over the course of two years by SFSD staff with the advice and review of POST officials, allows the department to certify that trainee deputies meet the high principals and ethics codified in POST's professional FTO standards. The certification will make available additional law enforcement assets to address rising crime rates in the City.
SFSD's other recent professional enhancements include expanding our patrol operations at SF General Hospital, cross-designating our Warrant Service Unit with the U.S. Marshals, sending a deputy sheriff this year to the FBI National Academy, instituting a strategic partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), and creating the department's first Criminal Investigations Unit.

Transgender Women Inmates to Participate in Programs at County Jail #2
In a major show of our department's commitment to recognizing and respecting all people's gender identities, transgender women inmates currently housed at County Jail #4, a men's housing facility, will be allowed to participate in programming at County Jail #2, a women's housing facility. The move is the first of a longer term two-phase policy expansion that will ultimately facilitate housing transgender women in the women's jail based on their preferred gender identity.

Transgender women inmates will soon be participating in programs and activities at CJ#2 like this 2014 Resource Fair.
The new policy, part of an ongoing two-year    collaboration with the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Transgender Law Center, TGI Justice Project, and the Human Rights Commission will allow transgender women access to educational and vocational opportunities which are paramount to reducing recidivism and to helping offenders successfully re-enter their communities. Just as importantly, it will allow all involved inmates to preserve their dignity during a period of incarceration.
"There is no question that moving these women to the women's jail will improve their daily lives," said National Center for Lesbian Rights Senior Staff Attorney Amy Whelan.
The SFSD expects to begin education and training for both staff and inmates in October of 2015. When this training is complete, transgender women inmates will begin participating in programming at County Jail #2 like the Five Keys Charter High School, women's empowerment group classes, and drug and alcohol abuse prevention  education.
The Sheriff is planning to meet and confer with the deputy sheriff's union on possible changes to deputy working conditions due to the evolving transgender housing implementation policy, with the goal of implementing full housing integration by the end of 2015.

Texas Fugitive Arrested by San Francisco Sheriff's Department Warrant Services Unit
Acting on information from the local office of the United States Marshal's Service, San Francisco Sheriff's Department Deputies, who are cross-designated as Deputy US Marshals, on September 18, 2015 located and arrested an adult male suspect in a Tenderloin apartment building. The suspect was wanted on a fugitive no-bail felony warrant out of South Polk County, Texas for absconsion from a conviction of sexual assault of a child. He was transported to the county jail where he was booked and will await extradition proceedings.

SFSD Rolls out New Vocational Aquaponics Training for Inmates at CJ#5
The new aquaponics program at CJ#5 marries hydroponics (plant growth without soil) and aquaculture (fish farming).
The SFSD has this fall embarked on a jobs-building and environmentally forward-thinking partnership between the SFSD's Five Keys Charter High School, Hunters Point Family, and Los Angeles-based Our Foods that has created a small food-producing and highly water-efficient aquaponics farming project at County Jail #6, which is directly adjacent to County Jail #5 in San Bruno. This is the first aquaponics class offered at any California jail.
The aquaponics partnership strives to increase the employability of San Francisco's incarcerated population by providing academic and hands-on training and post-release employment opportunities in a field that Fast Company calls one of the "top 10" jobs of the future. Using an in-jail aquaponics system to plan, plant, harvest, and distribute vegetables, all taught as part of the Five Keys curriculum, the partnership will ultimately grow to include post-release employment opportunities at a commercial-scale aquaponics farm to be developed in San Francisco.
Aquaponics is a sustainable food production method which marries hydroponics (plant growth without soil) and aquaculture (fish farming), resulting in a closed loop, symbiotic system; the fish - which can be edible - provide nutrient-rich fertilizer for the plants, which in turn provide clean, filtered water for the fish. During a time of intense, prolonged drought in the state, aquaponics uses 90% less water than conventional agriculture and exceeds organic standards because it uses no chemicals.
SFSD's Five Key's aquaponics class of 20 to 25 inmates meets each weekday at CJ5, with two weekly hands-on labs with the aquaponics system at CJ6. The classes commenced on August 17, 2015.
The aquaponics project is funded through a grant to Hunters Point Family by jobs-creation funder REDF. The goal of the project is to employ 100 community residents with barriers to work, including those formerly incarcerated at San Francisco County Jail.

REEL Recovery Film Festival Hosted at SF County Jail
Bruce Lee Livingston, Executive Director of Alcohol Justice, Nicole Boxer, Academy Award winning documentarian, and Sheriff Mirkarimi at opening night of REEL Recovery Film Festival at CJ#2.
Underscoring the department's commitment to addressing the high numbers of San Francisco incarcerated men and women who struggle with substance misuse, the SFSD, in cooperation with San Rafael-based Alcohol Justice, hosted a first time, special edition of the REEL Recovery Film Festival at San Francisco jails.
"Instead of addiction being treated as a crime, it instead needs to be treated as a public health priority, combined with a recovery system available to all people, long before jail becomes the first resort," said Sheriff Mirkarimi. Nationally, about 70% of those incarcerated have a substance abuse problem.
The special in-jail festival, which screened two films exploring addiction and recovery, launched on Monday, September 14, with a showing of Oscar-nominated documentarian Nicole Boxer's film "How I Got Over," at the women's jail at County Jail #2. Ms. Boxer (daughter of Senator Barbara Boxer) attended the screening. Tio Hardiman's autobiographical "The Death of an Addict: The Tio Hardiman Story (2010)," screened Wednesday, September 16, at County Jail #5. Both films were shown to county jail inmates and their substance abuse treatment providers.
The San Francisco Sheriff's Department addresses the crisis of drug and alcohol, use among San Francisco's incarcerated population by providing robust in-custody substance abuse treatment in partnership with community non-profits like HealthRIGHT 360.
Alcohol Justice's REEL Recovery Film Festival features films that highlight alcohol and drug addiction and recovery.

9/15/15. Epoch Times (in Chinese)

Find us (and our K-9 unit) at Bark in the Park -- Public Safety Canine
Duboce Park
Saturday, October 10, 2015
10am - 1pm
FREE for everyone

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