SAN DIEGO (CNS) - San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis joined more than 130 police chiefs, prosecutors and sheriffs in Washington, D.C., Wednesday to announce the creation of a coalition aimed at finding ways to safely reduce the nation's incarceration rate.
The law enforcement leaders created Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration in order to push for alternatives to arrests, restore balance to criminal laws, reform mandatory minimum prison sentences and strengthen community law enforcement relationships.
Members will meet with President Barack Obama on Thursday to discuss the issues.
"Today I stand with my law enforcement counterparts from across the country in calling for criminal justice reform," Dumanis said. "This new coalition will focus attention and momentum on appropriate alternatives to incarceration that will continue public safety and on alternatives that can be made in a thoughtful way and that will include resources for treatment."
The group includes the police chiefs of the nation's largest cities such as William Bratton of New York, Charlie Beck of Los Angeles and Garry McCarthy of Chicago, as well as prosecutors from around the country, including Dumanis; Benjamin David, the district attorney for New Hanover and Pender County, North Carolina; as well as Cyrus Vance Jr., the Manhattan district attorney.
According to the group, the incarceration rate in the United States has reached a crisis point and over-relying on incarceration does not help bring down crime. In fact, incarcerating non-violent offenders for low-level crimes such as drug offenses can take time and vital resources away from preventing serious and violent crimes.
The Law Enforcement Leaders group said more than 50 percent of prison and jail inmates have a diagnosed mental illness, and 65 percent of prisoners meet medical criteria for substance abuse and addiction. Many of those need treatment, not arrest and jail time, the group said.
Reducing incarceration will improve public safety because people who need treatment for drug and alcohol problems or mental health issues will be more likely to improve and reintegrate into society if they receive consistent care, something relatively few jails or prisons offer, according to the group.
Authorities sought the public's help Thursday to identify and locate the driver of a SUV involved in a weekend hit-and-run crash that left a 39-year-old motorcyclist with a fractured leg in Pacific Beach.
Authorities are looking for help in solving a double murder that took place in Valencia Park in 2015.
Fashion Week San Diego is celebrating a new roof top bar. It's called the Upper East Bar and it’s also the only place you can catch a glimpse of fashion's newest environmentally friendly dress. Ashley Jacobs also shows us what’s on the menu.
Teachers took their classrooms outside in a show of solidarity for a vice principal who they say deserves to get the top spot.
It's a growing problem throughout parts of the nation - teens turning to common plant seeds as a type of party drug to score a cheap but risky high.
Ocean Beach residents are pushing back against short-term vacation rentals. Residents Wednesday said they are sick of the noise and trash and are fighting to maintain the vibe of their neighborhood.
Strong winds will blow in San Diego County's deserts throughout the day Thursday with a mix of sun and clouds, as the marine layer extends to the inland communities.
A Point Loma family is hoping to catch a bold thief who walked up to their house and stole their bench.