Many San Francisco inmates voting for the first time
KPFA Evening News, 11.03.2012
KPFA News Anchor Sharon Sobotta: San Francisco is the leader in voter registration and voting among county jail inmates in the State of California, because of the efforts of its Sheriff's Department's Prisoner Legal Services program. Over 400 new voters have been registered for the upcoming election, but the program's director would still like to see more inmates registered to to vote. KPFA's Ann Garrison has the story
KPFA/Ann Garrison: San Francisco Sheriff Ross Miirkarimi said that most inmates who are eligible to vote are eager to do so, and said that many who register in jail are doing so for the first time.
Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi: Our county jail system is really no different than any other county jail system across the state, or across the country. Black and Brown people. African American, Latino population - primarily. And, for the first time in many of these inmates’ lives, they are being asked to register to vote, or have demonstrated some interest in registering to vote, so the San Francisco County jail system has made that process easy and accessible. And I am proud to say that San Francisco leads the rest of California, in us registering more inmates than any other county in this state.
KPFA: Sheriff Mirkarimi also said that voting is part of the San Francisco Sheriff's Department's longstanding emphasis on rehabilitation and re-entry.
Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi: This is also a function of our society, and that is exercising their participation in the election process, in the democratic process. And through our rehabilitative efforts in preparing an inmate in re-entering society comes also, I think, their hope and expectation to be a participant in that process, and that participation begins while in incarceration.
KPFA: The San Francisco County Jail also has one of the highest rates of voter participation in the City and County of San Francisco..