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December 4, 2022

DA creates new unit for homeless, mentally ill defendants

Seeks treatment, rehab and accountability for repeat non-violent offenders

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has created a new unit dedicated to seeking alternatives to putting non-violent criminals behind bars. 

The unit will seek treatment, rehabilitation and accountability for non-violent defendants suffering from mental illness and drug addiction who end up cycling in and out of the criminal justice system, says a press release from DA Jeff Rosen’s office. Known as Custody Alternatives and Mental Health Programs (CAMP), the new unit is expected to handle thousands of cases a year.

Brandon Cabrera

Brandon Cabrera, a veteran prosecutor with experience in many of the office’s units, will supervise the new unit

“Non-violent crimes might not grab headlines, but they erode our community and damage lives,” Rosen said. “We’ve assembled a new team to come up with creative solutions for people who need help rather than jail.”

CAMP will have 10 prosecutors handling such issues as mentally ill and homeless defendants, prisoners who have earned second chances and people who need their old, low-level criminal records cleared to help them get housing and jobs.

The unit was created out of a rethinking of the now obsolete Narcotics Unit, says the press release. That unit was split into CAMP and the Major Crime and Drug Trafficking Unit that handles cartel and violent drug cases.

Cabrera received his BA from Cal State University Northridge and his law degree from Santa Clara University School of Law. He was hired by SCCDA’s Office in 2012, straight out of law school. He has been assigned to such units as Law and Motions, Central Felonies, Family Violence, Forensic Mental Issues and the Sexual Assault Unit.

He is married to prosecutor Alaleh Kianerci, according to the press release. They had their first child this year.

Staff Report
A staff member edited this provided article.

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