Speaker - George Gascon

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George Gascón is the District Attorney for the City and County of San Francisco. He has earned a national reputation as a criminal justice visionary and as a leader who uses evidence based practices to make communities safer by lowering crime. He is the first Latino to hold the office in San Francisco and is the nation’s first police chief to become District Attorney.

District Attorney Gascón was elected on an agenda to transform the criminal justice system and make San Francisco the safest large city in America. His approach to public safety and reform is based on the need to hold people accountable without breaking the wallets of California taxpayers. Throughout his thirty year career in law enforcement, he has successfully lowered crime in all his positions by taking a surgical approach to crime and offenders, seeking the right amount of intervention to change behavior and improve public safety.

To begin addressing the high recidivism rate in California, District Attorney Gascón launched three groundbreaking initiatives – the Alternative Sentencing Program, the Neighborhood Courts and Neighborhood Prosecution Program and a county level Sentencing Commission.

He created the nation’s first Alternative Sentencing Program to support prosecutors in assessing risk to determine the most appropriate course of action in each case. The goal is to protect victims and the community by addressing offenders’ risk factors to break the cycle of crime and recidivism.

District Attorney Gascón launched the Neighborhood Courts and Neighborhood Prosecution Program as a way to keep low level offenders from entering the criminal justice system. The program takes non serious cases away from overcrowded courtrooms and into the community where trained neighborhood stakeholders can ensure law breakers are accountable to victims and the community without criminalizing first time low level offenders.

Additionally, under District Attorney Gascón’s leadership, San Francisco created the first Sentencing Commission in California in an effort to reform sentencing practices by applying evidence based practices to prosecutions.

A former high school dropout, District Attorney Gascón understands the importance of keeping kids in school to reduce violence and prevent crime. In partnership with the San Francisco Unified School District, the District Attorney’s Office has launched innovative programs to reduce truancy, increase mentoring opportunities for youth, and reduce bullying.

District Attorney Gascón is addressing crime underreporting by breaking down cultural and language barriers that prevent victims and witnesses from engaging with law enforcement. He expanded his office’s multilingual Victims Services Unit beyond the Hall of Justice and into community centers in the Mission, Chinatown, and Bayview Hunters Point.

District Attorney Gascón is a known innovator for his use of technology to prevent and predict crime. He improved the Compstat system at the Los Angeles Police Department and introduced the system to the San Francisco Police Department during his tenure as Police Chief. District Attorney Gascón believes in using well developed metrics and technology to drive organizational performance and improve public safety. He is currently working on launching a version called “DA Stat” to the District Attorney’s Office.

District Attorney Gascón has thirty years of experience in law enforcement promoting through the ranks to become Assistant Chief at the Los Angeles Police Department, Chief of Police in Mesa, Arizona and Chief of Police in San Francisco. In addition to his criminal justice work at the local, state, and national level, District Attorney Gascón has worked on public safety initiatives in Latin America and the Middle East. He is a Board member of the Council of State Government’s Justice Center, is a graduate of the FBI’s National Executive Institute, and is a member of the Harvard University/Kennedy School of Government’s Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety.

District Attorney Gascón has a Bachelor of Arts in History from California State University, Long Beach, and a Juris Doctor Degree from Western State University, College of Law.

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