The crime, car theft, was a felony, and the San Francisco teen who committed it would have been hauled into court, charged and assigned a fine, supervised probation or possibly time in a cell. Instead, the young car thief paid for his crime by painting a Tinkerbell mural in the victim’s home. The result was a lower cost to taxpayers than a traditional felony case and a greatly reduced likelihood the youth would commit another crime, prosecutors told The Chronicle. The teen was one of 98 youths in the past five years arrested for felony crimes in San Francisco who were offered the chance to make amends outside a courtroom with the city’s Make It Right program. Youths agree to sit in a circle with their victim or a surrogate, as well as moderators and family members, to talk about their crime, what led to it and what the youth could do to repair the damage. Rates of violent crime among youths have fallen sharply over the past two decades, emptying out juvenile detention centers across the state. A series of investigative reports by The Chronicle on youth crime spurred San Francisco to close its juvenile hall by the end… Read full this story
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