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NCJ Number: 50759 Find in a Library
Title: HONGISTO - A VERY DIFFERENT KIND OF SHERIFF
Journal: CORRECTIONS MAGAZINE  Volume:3  Issue:4  Dated:(DECEMBER 1977)  Pages:23-32
Author(s): R WILSON
Corporate Author: Correctional Information Service, Inc
United States of America
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 10
Sponsoring Agency: Correctional Information Service, Inc
New York, NY 10017
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE REFORMS INTRODUCED BY RICHARD HONGISTO, THE UNCONVENTIONAL SHERIFF OF SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF., ARE DESCRIBED.
Abstract: HONGISTO WAS ELECTED IN 1971 AND AGAIN IN 1975 THROUGH A COALITION OF MINORITIES, YOUNG PEOPLE, WEALTHY LIBERALS, POOR WORKERS, AND THE CITY'S ESTIMATED 40,000 GAY VOTERS. HONGISTO'S UNUSUAL CAREER IS ILLUSTRATED BY THE 5 DAYS HE SPENT IN JAIL ON A CONTEMPT OF COURT CONVICTION FOR FAILING TO EVICT ELDERLY TENANTS OF A WELFARE HOTEL. DURING HIS 6 YEARS IN OFFICE, HONGISTO'S REFORMS HAVE BEEN RECOGNIZED EVEN BY HIS POLITICAL ENEMIES. THE MOST VISIBLE IMPROVEMENT HAS BEEN IN THE LIVING CONDITIONS IN SAN FRANCISCO COUNTY'S SIX JAILS, WHICH WERE RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL IN 1973. OVERCROWDING IN THE JAILS HAS BEEN ELIMINATED, AND VIOLENCE BY BOTH INMATES AND GUARDS HAS DROPPED DRASTICALLY. WORKING FROM A BELIEF THAT INMATES SHOULD BE TREATED 'THE WAY I WOULD WANT THEM TO TREAT ME,' HONGISTO HAS FOSTERED MANY PROGRAMS: HIGH SCHOOL EDUCATION; LEGAL ASSISTANCE; A FORMAL GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE; A FULL-TIME OMBUDSMAN; WORK RELEASE AND FURLOUGHS; VOLUNTEER TUTORING; ALCOHOL AND DRUG TREATMENT. VOLUNTEERS--STUDENTS. EX-OFFENDERS, EDUCATORS--HAVE BEEN THE VANGUARD OF HIS REFORMS, WHICH HAVE ALSO INCLUDED THE DEVELOPMENT OF A COUNTY PAROLE PROGRAM. HONGISTO'S PERSONAL HISTORY INCLUDES 10 YEARS AS A POLICEMAN, WORK AS A TELEVISION REPORTER, AND A MASTER'S DEGREE IN CRIMINOLOGY. HONGISTO IS MORE OF A POLITICAL THEORIST THAN AN ADMINSTRATOR, AND HIS MANAGEMENT STYLE HAS BEEN TO SET THE BROAD OUTLINE OF PROGRAMS AND TO SELECT PEOPLE HE REGARDS AS CREATIVE TO RUN THE PROGRAMS WITHOUT CLOSE SUPERVISION. AN EXAMPLE OF THIS APPROACH IS THE GROWTH OF THE COUNTY'S REHABILITATION PROGRAM, WHICH INCORPORATES MANY OF THE SHERIFF'S INMATE PROGRAM REFORMS AND HAS RECEIVED FUNDING FROM SEVERAL FEDERAL SOURCES. ALTHOUGH HONGISTO'S REFORMS HAVE BEEN PRAISED, HIS STYLE AND HIS POLITICS HAVE BROUGHT CONSIDERABLE CRITICISM FROM SOME CITY OFFICIALS. DETAILED DESCRIPTIONS OF SOME OF HONGISTO'S REFORMS (A RELEASE-PLANNING PROGRAM, THE COUNTY PAROLE SYSTEM) ARE PROVIDED. PHOTOGRAPHS ILLUSTRATE THE ARTICLE.
Index Term(s): California; Inmate Programs; Jails; Reform; Sheriffs
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