D.C. crime bill to lengthen pre-trial detention up for final vote

  • The sweeping crime bill has widespread support
  • The legislation is a reversal of previous progressive crime policies in D.C.
  • Activists say the longer pre-trial detention proposal is unjust

(NewsNation) — A sweeping crime bill in Washington D.C. with over 100 proposals is up for a final vote in a staggering reversal for the D.C. Council, which embraced more progressive crime policies four years ago.

The bill increases penalties for certain gun crimes, lowers the threshold to make theft a felony charge and gives the D.C. police the power to disperse people loitering in “drug-free zones more easily.”

It also expands the definition of “carjacking” to help stem such crimes, gives judges more power to extend pre-trial detention for those charged with violent crimes and adds new provisions to target retail theft.

This comes as a direct response to D.C. residents voicing fears of a crime wave that is just beginning to subside.

In 2023, violent crime in D.C. was up 39% with homicides up 35% — the worst level in two decades. Early indicators show homicides are down 32% so far this year compared to the same time last year, while violent crime overall is down 12%.

The D.C. Council is expected to take a final vote on the Secure D.C. crime package Tuesday, and it is expected to pass. The last voter garnered almost unanimous support among the council members

“I think the Secure D.C. package has a lot of great tools for prosecutors to attack a lot of different crimes and a lot of different ways, which is why the U.S. Attorney’s Office is very supportive and hopes that Secure D.C. passes,” said Jodi Lazarus, the supervising prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for D.C.

However, the crime bill is facing criticism from activists who say it will unjustly put people in jail for longer than needed.


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