WASHINGTON, D.C. – FWD.us D.C. Director for Criminal Justice Reform Dawit Getachew issued the following statement after Councilmember Brooke Pinto introduced emergency legislation that includes several of the harmful pro-mass incarceration policies from the Safer Stronger D.C. Amendment Act (SSDC) that will fail to improve public safety:
“We are deeply disappointed that despite the overwhelming opposition to the mass incarceration policies of the SSDC at the June 28 hearing, Councilmember Pinto has introduced fast-tracked legislation that includes some of those very same policies. We know from decades of research that these policies will worsen racial disparities, expand mass incarceration and fail to make D.C. residents any safer. These ineffective, draconian policies will only lock up yet another generation of Black and Brown Washingtonians and do nothing to advance public safety.
“Only 10 days ago, Attorney General Schwalb, along with dozens of others, including victims’ advocates, local leaders from community organizations, and criminal justice advocates spoke in strong opposition to the SSDC, including the policies in the emergency legislation that would unnecessarily expand pretrial detention for children and adults. The proposed increases to pretrial detention will not only fail to improve public safety, but also ignores the growing body of evidence demonstrating that pretrial release is not responsible for the rise in crime rates in the District. Ninety-three percent of people released pretrial are not rearrested for any offense while awaiting trial and only 1% are rearrested for a violent offense while awaiting trial. This increase of pretrial detention, especially the large-scale expansion of incarcerating children before trial, will only harm communities and destabilize families; it will not make us safer.
“D.C. residents, particularly those in communities most impacted by gun violence, deserve actual solutions, not reactionary efforts to advance sweeping mass incarceration policies right before the Council recesses. We urge the Council to follow the decades of research that makes clear incarceration is the most expensive and least effective public safety strategy. D.C. residents deserve evidence-based policymaking that will advance public safety, not proposals that only give the appearance of action without actually making our communities safer.
“All Washingtonians deserve safety. D.C. leaders must reject this bill and instead focus their efforts on addressing the root causes of crime that will improve public safety instead of returning to failed policies.”
- More Incarceration in the District of Columbia Will Not Increase Public Safety
- More than 40 National and Local Organizations Call on D.C. Leaders to Oppose Safer Stronger D.C. Proposal that will Worsen Mass Incarceration Without Improving Public Safety
- FWD.us Written Testimony in Opposition to Safer Stronger D.C. Amendment Act