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[MEDIA ADVISORY] Criminal Justice Coalition Sends Urgent Recommendations to District and Federal Leaders to Reduce Incarcerated Population During COVID-19 Crisis




Contact:       Gregg Kelley

Director of Development & Communications
Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights & Urban Affairs
Phone: 202.319.1070

Press call:     Friday, May 27th at 10am

                      Password 875658


(March 26, 2020, Washington, D.C.)A coalition of 15 criminal justice reform advocates has issued a set of detailed recommendations to heads of all government bodies that have authority over the criminal justice system in the District of Columbia. 

People who are incarcerated are highly susceptible to the devastating effects of COVID-19, and corrections officers, police officers, and health care workers who interact with these residents are also at risk. The coalition has therefore provided extensive guidance on how to lessen the transmission of the disease within this vulnerable population.

Across the country, from Los Angeles to New Jersey, justice systems have been changing how they operate in the wake of COVID-19. The coalition has six specific asks -

  • Decrease arrests
  • Decrease pretrial detention
  • Release those serving misdemeanor sentences
  • Release some serving felony sentences
  • Enable compassionate release for some felony sentences
  • Minimize health risks for staff and those held at DC Jail

These recommendations have been implemented across the country, from California, to Texas, to New York. They're based on recommendations by public health officials and consistent with policies supported by more than 30 district attorneys nationwide.

The letter was addressed to the following leaders: 

Muriel Bowser, Mayor
Kevin Donahue, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice
Phil Mendelson, Chairman, D.C. Council

Charles Allen, Councilmember, D.C. Council, Chairman, Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety
Peter Newsham, Chief, Metropolitan Police Department
Robert Morin, Chief Judge, D.C. Superior Court
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
Karl Racine, Attorney General for the District of Columbia
Quincy Booth, Director, Department of Corrections
Timothy Shea, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia
LaQuandra Nesbitt, Director, Department of Health

Patricia Cushwa, Chairperson, United States Parole Commission
Michael Carvajal, Director, Federal Bureau of Prisons

Letter and recommendations can be viewed here:


WHAT:           Press Call

WHEN:          Friday, March 27, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.

Dial In:          Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 550 650 484
Password: 875658


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WHO:            Emily Gunston, Deputy Legal Director, Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs
Marc Schindler, Executive Director, Justice Policy Institute
Monica Hopkins, Executive Director, ACLU of the District of Columbia
Tyrone Walker, Associate, Justice Policy Institute
Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs
700 14th Street, NW, Suite 400 | Washington, DC  20005*
Office 202-319-1000 x 155
Direct Dial 202-319-1070
*Please note new address.
Dismantling Injustice/Pursuing Lasting Change

Posted in Press Releases & Statements

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