Press Release

The Sentencing Project Applauds DC Council for Appointing First Formerly Incarcerated Person to Sentencing Commission

Joel Castón is the first formerly incarcerated person to be appointed to the District of Columbia Sentencing Commission. In 2021, he made history as the first person to be elected to office in DC while incarcerated.

Related to: Sentencing Reform

Washington, DC – Today, the Washington, DC Council voted to appoint Joel Castón as a member of the District of Columbia (DC) Sentencing Commission. In 2021, Castón made history by becoming the first person to be elected to office in Washington, DC, while incarcerated – by winning a seat on his Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC).

Kara Gotsch, Executive Director with The Sentencing Project released the following statement:

“We applaud the DC Council for joining a growing number of institutions across the country in acknowledging the importance of including formerly incarcerated individuals in policy discussions.

“The inclusion of a formerly incarcerated individual, who has experienced the criminal legal system firsthand, will strengthen the DC Sentencing Commission.

“The DC Sentencing Commission reviews and makes recommendations about the sentencing guidelines referenced by judges in court. The perspective of an individual with lived experience of incarceration will assist in providing a well-rounded understanding of the impact and implementation of those sentences.

“Sentencing commissions should reflect the diverse populations they serve, including returning citizens. We applaud the DC Council for ensuring that this important population has a voice on the DC Sentencing Commission.”

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