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The DC Council unanimously passed the Revised Criminal Code of 2022 (RCCA)

November 16, 2022 the District of Columbia made history. 

The DC Council unanimously passed the Revised Criminal Code of 2022 (RCCA), a sweeping modernization of the District’s criminal laws. The RCCA positions the District as a national leader in sentencing reform and models how legislatures can reduce extreme sentences. 

The RCCA’s reforms include: 

  • Eliminating almost all mandatory minimum sentences
  • Lowering the maximum sentence possible to 45 years in prison
  • Expanding DC’s current second look law, which allows people who committed a crime below the age of 25 to petition for resentencing after serving 15 years, to allow judges to consider resentencing after 20 years of imprisonment for people who were older at the time of the crime
  • Reducing the scope and maximum penalty for felony murder, a law that holds people liable for murder if they participated in a felony that resulted in someone’s unintentional death

People are worried about crime and they want to feel safe. But as the Council recognized yesterday, extreme sentences aren’t the answer. Washingtonians deserve real solutions that save lives, protect kids, strengthen families, advance racial justice, and empower communities – not more mass incarceration. We applaud the Council’s leadership and we urge Mayor Bowser to swiftly sign the RCCA into law. If enacted, implementation of the RCCA’s provisions would gradually occur over the next three years. 

More reforms are needed to curb extreme sentences and racial injustice in the District, but the RCCA is a remarkable achievement and the product of years of advocacy, research, and negotiation. It offers hope as we fight nationwide to end all mandatory minimums, create universal second look after 10 years, limit sentence maximums to 20 years, and repeal felony murder laws.

Liz Komar

Sentencing Reform Counsel

Email: lkomar@sentencingproject.org

The Sentencing Project
1705 DeSales St. NW
8th Fl
Washington, DC 20036
United States

About oregoncureadmin

The mission of OREGON CURE is to reduce crime by advocating for effective criminal justice policies, procedures and programs.

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