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DCist/WAMU: Bowser Crime Bill Draws Fierce Opposition, Support During Council Hearing

June 27, 2023

DCist/WAMU reporter Jenny Gathright writes about the hearing held by the DC Council on Tuesday, focused on the Safer Stronger Amendment Act of 2023. The Act, proposed by Mayor Browser, aims to address crime across the District. However, Policy Analyst Danielle Robinette shared our concerns on how the legislation could impact DC youth.

Danielle Robinette, a policy analyst at Children’s Law Center, said the organization supported one aspect of the bill: a provision that would expand protections for children who have experienced child abuse and allow contractors and consultants who have access to schools to be prosecuted for sexual abuse. But Robinette said the organization strongly opposed the provision that would allow judges to detain children in the city’s youth detention facility for their own protection.

“It is difficult for us to imagine a set of circumstances in which incarceration is in a child’s best interest,” Robinette said. “We worry this creates a slippery slope, where judges are required to order pretrial detention, even when the child poses no risk to the community. This is particularly concerning given the criminogenic effect that pretrial detention has on children.”

Photo Credit: Jenny Gathright/DCist/WAMU