The Sentencing Project Condemns President Biden Decision to Sign Legislation Overturning DC’s Modernized Criminal Code
Washington, D.C. – Today, President Biden signed into law H.J. Res. 26, which nullifies the Revised Criminal Code Act of 2022 enacted by the Council of the District of Columbia.
Sentencing Reform Counsel Liz Komar released the following statement:
“By signing this bill, President Biden has chosen politics over both public safety and DC’s right to self-governance. The RCCA is a balanced bill that raises some penalties, lowers others, and corrects many legal flaws in a criminal code that was once ranked one of the worst in America. It was supported by prosecutors, victim advocates, public defenders, and 83% of DC voters. The RCCA reflected what decades of research has shown: extreme sentences do not deter crime. They don’t make us any safer, they are a massive waste of fiscal resources, and they disproportionately impact communities of color.
“With this decision, President Biden has abandoned his own campaign promises to oppose mandatory minimum sentences and significantly reduce the prison population. President Biden says he regrets sponsoring passage of the 1994 Crime Bill, which significantly contributed to America’s explosive incarceration rate. Nevertheless, since taking office, Biden has not kept his promises and the federal prison population has begun to increase after impressive declines stemming from reforms enacted by his Democratic and Republican predecessors.
“Going forward, we urge President Biden to make decisions about sentencing policy based on research and data – not the outdated theories of another era. This year marks 50 years of mass incarceration in America; President Biden should be taking steps to ensure this crisis doesn’t continue for another 50 years.”