The Sentencing Project’s Senior Advocacy Associate Josh Rovner submitted testimony endorsing Bill 24-338, the Redefinition of Child Amendment Act of 2021, before the Council of the District of Columbia, Committee on the Judiciary. The hearing considers whether all of DC’s children should be seen as such. The bill would apply to 16-and 17-year-olds who have been charged with any one of a set of serious offenses.
The Sentencing Project supports this bill for five reasons:
- All children deserve to be treated as children.
- District law usually recognizes 16- and 17-year-olds are children.
- Transfer of youth into adult courts is bad for youth, their families, and the District.
- Most children sentenced under Title 16 could have completed their sentence under the supervision of juvenile courts.
- The status quo empowers unelected and unaccountable prosecutors at the expense of children.