Support Rehabilitation-Focused Criminal Justice Reform

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Target: Charles Allen, D.C. Councilmember (D-Ward 6)

Goal: Support early release proposal for D.C.’s prisoners

Social research consistently shows that mandatory minimums and ever-lengthening prison sentences have not made Americans safer. Now, a D.C. councilmember has proposed legislation which “would allow certain inmates … to be set free” early. Applaud this initiative and lend your support to Councilmember Allen’s reforms.

Criminal justice reforms often aim to reinforce rehabilitation-focused efforts of America’s jails and prisons, reducing the focus on pure punishment and retribution. Given the high numbers of prosecutions against adolescent and early adult offenders—especially young men of color—preventive and rehabilitative policies are vital.

As the Washington Post recently reported, D.C. Councilmember Charles Allen (D-Ward 6) has taken these insights and drafted legislation to implement them. The bill, which comes up for a vote later this fall, “would expand the pool of potentially eligible inmates to those who committed crimes when they were between the ages of 18 and 24,” A D.C. Superior Court judge would still need to “consider if the inmate has taken responsibility for their crime,” avoided “trouble” during their imprisonment, and otherwise demonstrated “rehabilitation [and] fitness to reenter society.”

Allen’s proposal is grounded in good social science – and offers a way out of spiraling incarceration rates of young Americans. Let Councilmember Allen know you support this initiative and thank him for his leadership on this critical issue.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Councilmember Allen,

Research consistently has shown America’s approach to criminal justice—relying on longer sentences and more-aggressive prosecutions—is ineffective and produces unjust, racist outcomes. Your proposed early release legislation for D.C. recognizes this and offers a sensible, compassionate alternative.

As the Washington Post recently summarized, your bill “would expand the pool of potentially eligible inmates to those who committed crimes when they were between the ages of 18 and 24,” while ensuring only those who have shown real progress toward rehabilitation are released. It offers a smart, careful compromise to ever-expanding imprisonment of mostly young, overwhelmingly minority Americans.

Thank you for your leadership on this issue. We stand with you and strongly support your reform efforts.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: DCCourts

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