Press Release

The Sentencing Project Condemns DC Council’s Passage of Secure DC Crime Bill

We urge the DC Council to pursue real safety strategies, not failed responses to crime like longer sentences and more mandatory minimums.

Washington, D.C. [March 5, 2024] – Today, the DC Council held the second reading of the Secure DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2024 (Bill 25-345) and voted to pass the bill into law. Introduced by DC Councilmember Brooke Pinto last year, the sprawling bill includes dozens of changes to criminal laws.

Liz Komar, Sentencing Reform Counsel for The Sentencing Project, issued the following statement:

“All Washingtonians deserve safety and justice. That’s why The Sentencing Project and many other organizations in the District urged the DC Council to improve the ‘Secure DC’ Act before it was brought to a vote today.

Just last year, DC was poised to overhaul its criminal code, including eliminating almost all mandatory minimums with the Revised Criminal Code Act (RCCA). Instead, the Secure DC Act will lengthen sentences and is a significant step backward.

Among many troubling changes, the Secure DC Act will change the makeup of the Sentencing Commission. While we applaud the inclusion of a requirement that a returning citizen be a member of the Commission, this positive change is outweighed by changes designed to ultimately shift the balance of the Commission in order to raise the Sentencing Guidelines. The Secure DC Act changes the composition of the DC Sentencing Commission by giving the mayor more appointees and by giving even more weight to law enforcement and prosecutorial perspectives, including by making the Metropolitan Police Department chief a voting member. The Sentencing Commission should be balanced and make decisions rooted in research and best practices, not politics. We are deeply concerned about the potential far-reaching impact of this change.

We urge the Council to pursue real safety strategies, not failed responses to crime like longer sentences and more mandatory minimums.”


About The Sentencing Project

The Sentencing Project advocates for effective and humane responses to crime that minimize imprisonment and criminalization of youth and adults by promoting racial, ethnic, economic, and gender justice.

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