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Groundbreaking “Second Look” Bill Passes DC Council

Groundbreaking “Second Look” Bill Passes DC Council

Date: December 16, 2020

The District of Columbia Council overwhelmingly passed legislation yesterday to allow people sentenced to long prison terms during their adolescence a meaningful chance at release.

The Second Look Amendment Act (B23-127) will allow people serving long sentences for crimes committed before age 25 to petition a judge for a sentence reduction after serving 15 years in prison. The change would give hundreds of DC residents an opportunity for release in coming years. Once the bill is reviewed by Mayor Muriel Bowser and Congress and enacted as anticipated, it will be a national model for ending life imprisonment for emerging adults.

DC law presently extends the right to request a new sentence to people convicted before turning 18. Since 2016, roughly 50 people have been released under those provisions and none have been convicted of another crime.

The legislation, sponsored by Councilmember Charles Allen, recognizes people’s capacity to change and contribute to their communities after serving lengthy sentences. The Sentencing Project urges Mayor Bowser to sign the Second Look Amendment Act quickly to demonstrate the District’s commitment to sentencing reform, alleviating racial disparity and ending mass incarceration.