All candidates running for At-Large D.C. Council seats were asked to fill out this questionnaire about criminal justice issues in the District. The deadline to submit answers was Wednesday, September 23. Click on each question to see candidates' answers.

 

1. What is your definition of public safety?

Q.What is your definition of public safety?
A.

Calvin Gurley:

  1. Wherein the residents of the District of Columbia have total trust and confidence in walking the streets in their community and anywhere in the city without harm.
  2. There is MPD Police presence throughout the District of Columbia.

Will Merrifield: True public safety means equipping communities with the resources to make themselves secure. Crime is a symptom of community instability. The primary driver of instability in DC is the divest>criminalize>displace cycle used by politicians and developers to clear away working-class communities to make way for luxury development and the privatization of public assets, such as public schools. As the attorney for tenants at Congress Heights, I saw the developer intentionally create illegal, unsafe conditions, which sitting Council members then used to justify the redevelopment. I saw the District pass fraudulent building inspections, one after another, that allowed this abuse to continue. I’ve seen violent policing used to intimidate people who stood up for themselves. These are the crimes that threaten public safety. It is not a coincidence that DC has the highest rates of incarceration, homelessness, and gentrification of any state. To protect public safety, we need to treat the cause, not the symptom. Investing communities with the resources they need to make themselves secure is the only real and sustainable solution. My jobs guarantee program to build thousands of units of Social Housing will restabilize communities by providing permanently affordable homes and living wages. In the interim, MPD should immediately cease all Stop and Frisks, which overwhelmingly target Black residents, and disable all military weapons.

Marcus Goodwin: Public safety is a comprehensive system that provides for safe, livable communities. I believe there is too much emphasis on addressing crimes as they occur as opposed to addressing the underlying causes of crime before they take place. We need to address underemployment which leaves our citizens without gainful, productive ways to earn a living. There should also be job training opportunities so that adults can earn certifications that will make them qualified for jobs. There should also be adult education so that people have more opportunities than they otherwise would. We also cannot neglect to acknowledge that addition and mental illness should be treated to keep communities safe. We see in communities where there is a healthcare disparity a direct correlation with a higher crime rate.

Jeanné Lewis: Public safety means creating a community where all residents, regardless of identity, are protected, feel safe in their neighborhoods, healthy, and able to excel.

Addison Sarter: Yesterday, America found out that the cops who killed Breonna Taylor, were not charged for her murder. I am a firm believer in the motto “Separation or Death.” The treatment that African Americans face in 2020, meets the criteria of genocide, according to the United Nations definition of that word. For those that don’t believe our treatment is genocide, feel free to check out an article I wrote, called “Call It Genocide Not Systemic Racism.” It can be found on google and it lists about 8 different ways America commits genocide against Black people in 2020. America has shown us who “she” is 401 years. We must separate from America or continue to die by genocide. According to International Law, (The United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Rights)...indigenous tribes all over the globe, have the right to:

  • Their OWN Government/Political System/Judicial system and the right to not be forced into integration
  • Their OWN Hospitals and the right practice their OWN traditional medicine.
  • Their OWN Education System.
  • Their OWN Police Departments
  • Reparations through money or land/territory
  • The same rights above AND citizenship in the Countries that they live in (were exiled to/colonized in.)

African Americans come from the indigenous tribes of the Kingdom of Judah, in Israel, who migrated to West Africa after 70 AD. If Black people don’t want to move back to our homeland where we were scattered from, we can create “A United States of Africa”, within America. In order to form your own country you need land. In nearly every city in America, Black people are isolated and segregated to a section of town, that is known as “the inner city, the ghetto, or the hood.” These isolated Black communities all over America can be redeveloped and formed into our own states, united under our own Black nation. It is our right as an indigenous tribe. East of the Anacostia River in DC is 90 percent Black and has been systematically isolated from the rest of the city by the building of I 295. East of the Anacostia River could be turned into a Black state.That is my mission for DC. My campaign is not simply a campaign for city council but a campaign for Black Independence. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson wanted to form their own independent nation by separating from their colonizers who oppressed them, which was the British Empire. The solution for Black Americans , is to form our own independent nation, by separating from our colonizers that oppress us, which is the American government. Through independence Black people will have our own criminal justice system and police departments. The American criminal justice system is the tool of the colonizers (American government), to extract wealth from Black people, back to the colonizers.

Alexander Padro: Public safety is a baseline responsibility of every municipal government. All citizens should be able to live, work, shop, play, pray and learn without fear of threats to their personal safety. They should be able to walk freely anywhere, unintimidated by anyone, including police officers. Police officers should be residents of the communities they serve and be visible in those communities as a deterrent to violent crime, which remains a problem in the District. Police should respond quickly when called to address emergency situations where the lives of innocent parties are threatened. Police should not cause unnecessary harm to citizens.

Ann Wilcox: I believe that public safety includes healthy and safe communities, which are empowered and where education is available. It is not just an absence of crime. Public safety includes mental health & counseling services; youth development; violence interruption; and safe passage to & from school for students.

Franklin Garcia: Public safety deals with the government's role to ensure the well-being of its citizens. It is the manifestation of the first amendment of our Union’s Bill of Rights, which is the most fundamental element of a civil society that allows a community to prosper economically, provide just and dignified jobs, housing and health care for all. This can only be achieved by our local and federal authorities ensuring adequate education to all its residents, regardless of ethnicity, creed, age or sexual preference.

Christina Henderson: A community endeavor to ensure that all individuals are able to live, work, play, and simply exist in environments that are free of all forms of violence and harm, physical and non-physical.

Ed Lazere: Public safety means working to create a stable and peaceful community where everyone lives without fear of violence or for their property, in their home or outside it, and where no one fears for their safety as a result of their identity (race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual identity, immigration status, etc.). We can achieve public safety through:

  • investments in community well-being, like housing, jobs, and adequate incomes;
  • services that recognize and address the impacts of trauma;
  • comprehensive and effective behavioral health services;
  • public education and other efforts to teach tolerance, respect and peaceful conflict resolution;
  • services for victims of crimes, and for communities at risk of hate crimes
  • peaceful intervention services and restorative justice practices to address conflict, such as violence interruption community mediation;
  • appropriate police services to address crime;
  • policies and systems to oversee police behavior and to address police misconduct; and
  • detention policies focused on decarceration and only isolates from the community those people who are an imminent and serious risk to others, with a rehabilitative focus.
  • supporting people returning home from incarceration

Mario Cristaldo: My definition of public safety has to do with the welfare and wellbeing of all the residents of the District of Columbia.

Michangelo Scruggs: The duty of law enforcement to protect the citizens, and the commitment by them to enforce measures that keeps citizens safe.

Mónica Palacio: We deserve a city where all residents but specifically Black and Brown residents and vulnerable groups are safe at the hands of their government. I define public safety for DC as coordinated investments in public health and public safety to ensure all residents are safe in public spaces.

Robert White: Public Safety is how our government agencies and community work together to ensure that all members of our community are safe and feel safe. We have a shared responsibility to cure crime’s underlying causes and to resolve conflicts within our community. In DC, this includes the unique aspect of addressing the sometimes differing opinions of long-time residents and newer residents, as well as the urgent need to address the effects of systemic racism that have resulted in communities that look very different from each other.

Chander Jayaraman: "Public safety is about much more than traditional policing and enforcing laws. Public safety in this time means that all of our communities - families, people of color, LGBTQ and trans, of all religions - feel safe in and outside their homes, protected and supported by city and other agencies. At the heart of public safety should be a goal of supporting individuals in meeting their basic needs — including, a job that pays a living wage, a home, food, education, and access to health care — and ensuring their safety from harm, violence or exploitation. It also should be focused on supporting and protecting all families, and strengthening communities to thrive. When all of us feel safe walking outside our homes and when interacting with police, when all residents feel that they have opportunities for success and self-sufficiency, then we will have a climate of public safety."

Vincent Orange: did not answer

Marya Pickering: did not answer

Markus Batchelor: did not answer

Claudia Barragan: did not answer

Keith Silver: did not answer

Joe Bishop-Henchman: did not answer

Kathy Henderson: did not answer

Eric M. Rogers: did not answer

A'shia Howard: did not answer

2. The school-to-prison pipeline disproportionately affects Black children in the District. What are some ways that you would address this problem, and as part of your approach, do you support reducing the presence of police officers in District public schools? Why/Why not?

Q.The school-to-prison pipeline disproportionately affects Black children in the District. What are some ways that you would address this problem, and as part of your approach, do you support reducing the presence of police officers in District public schools? Why/Why not?
A.

Calvin Gurley:

  1. DC Public School System must hire Black male teachers who have the commitment to tolerate the challenge to teach and educate students especially in high risk communities in the city.
  2. Open vocational schools in which to offer our students apprenticeships in the skills of carpentry, auto mechanics, plumbing, welding, barbering, hotel hospitality, culinary arts, tailoring and more.
  3. We must bring into the classrooms music, instrumental music playing, the arts, dance and science and math.
  4. The District must afford residents who are trained and skill jobs in the private sector and in the District Government. Currently, the District Government workforce is made up of more than 70% of workers who live in states outside the District of Columbia. This also is presents a financial hardship when millions of payroll tax dollars are paid to states outside the District. Police presence should be outside the school grounds to facilitate children's safety from traffic and maintain peace among students (bullying).

Will Merrifield: Yes. Over-intervention pushes children out of schools and leads to over-incarceration. This is both traumatic and life altering - suspension predicts future drop-outs more than anything else, including poverty. I oppose all exclusionary discipline policies like suspensions and expulsions. Removing children from the school environment is definitionally counterproductive. Further, using a police force to literally police children in school treats kids as criminals when they should be treated like students. No one can learn when they are afraid. The remedy is to work to repair this damage and rebuild trust and support systems. Providing mental healthcare, adequately funding (instead of defunding) school counselor positions, and investing in housing stability so that support systems remain intact are essential to this work.

Marcus Goodwin: The first steps to addressing the problem is to try and take the situations of at-risk students on a case by case basis. Don’t apply a generic set of procedures as the standard for every case. Truancy for example can be addressed by working hand and hand with parents to help reach a solution where the family gets the resources, they need to address their child’s needs. Guidelines such as automatic expulsion and suspension deserve a second look. I don’t believe that these kinds of disciplinary actions should be taken at the discretion of administrative staff. Police presence also should be lowered in our school, I find little reason to justify why a high school such as Ballou needs 12 contracted guards as reported by MPD. This kind of staffing creates an unnecessary hostility.

Jeanné Lewis: To mitigate the school-to-prison pipeline, I support expanding DC’s Alternatives to Court Experience (ACE) Diversion Program. ACE specialists take a public health approach, measure each child’s stress, level of trauma, and behavioral needs, and creates individual treatment plans. This program now diverts five times more juveniles since it began in 2015. The data shows that almost 75% of participants in the program do not recidivate, 88% show improvements in the behavioral and mental health assessments. Additionally, I support reducing the presence of police officers in District public schools. Research has repeatedly shown the negative effects of cops in schools. For example it leads students to distrust adults in the building, making them less likely to go to an adult for help. Additionally, school-based arrests and corporal punishment rates are much higher for Black and Latino students and students with disabilities while there is no evidence that these groups of children commit crimes at higher rates. There is also no evidence that cops make schools safer, even in mass shootings. What schools really need is an increase in counselors and mental health professionals, so children in the District learn how to regulate and manage their emotions in a healthy way. In our school buildings with vacant space, we could house nonprofits and agencies that provide trauma-informed, therapeutic and supportive services to help students.

Addison Sarter: I would address this by funding more aftercare and mentoring programs that focus on literacy. As we know if a student can’t read at grade level by 4th grade, they are more likely to go to prison. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stated how the schools in Black neighborhoods work. “Education: … slum education is designed to perpetuate the inferior status of slum children and prepare them only for menial jobs in much the same way that the South African apartheid education philosophy does for the African” This still goes on today. Recent studies show that White school districts receive 23 billion dollars more than nonwhite school districts. This education system is failing our children. As stated earlier, according to the United Nations, Black people and other indigenous tribes have the right to their own education system. By the end of my term I will have fought to establish our own Black schools that are centered around our heritage. I definitely support reducing the number of police officers in our schools. Police are known to use excessive force on Black people therefore, our children should not be subjected to that at school. Many Black youth already face police harassment or police brutality in their neighborhoods. They should not have to deal with it at school or in general.

Alexander Padro: School security is an important issue. If students do not feel safe, their attendance and academic performance suffer. I believe that school security should be handled by contractors chosen by DCPS with specific scopes of work and guidelines that will work alongside social workers and other health professionals in a better position to monitor and influence negative behaviors than armed police officers. Armed police officers have not prevented mass shootings at schools in the past. They are not a panacea for school violence.

Ann Wilcox: Yes, I believe that Metropolitan Police Officers should not be in schools, providing "security." There should be private contractors, and most importantly, mental health and counseling services, to reduce conflict in school. Children should never be arrested or restrained, while on school premises.

Franklin Garcia: Yes, I strongly support reducing police presence at our public school system, and strive to eliminate their presence completely. We need to ensure quality education and a safe learning environment--second to none nationwide--for our youth, and curriculums conducive to higher learning, and university studies for all students. I will make sure the Council works closely with WTU, teachers, staff, students, community leaders and parents. After all, education and respect starts at home. That said, parents and guardians deserve safe communities, dignified housing, decent jobs and fair pay to provide for a safe--at-home learning environment, to provide a solid early childhood learning foundation.

Christina Henderson: Across the country, the pattern of students being pushed out of schools through suspension and expulsions practices and into the criminal justice system is pervasive. When I worked for Councilmember David Grosso, first as his Legislative Director and then as Committee Director for the Council’s Committee on Education, we took this issue on. The immediate problem was that there was no publicly reported school discipline data for both DCPS and public charter schools. So I worked on language that required the Office of the State Superintendent of Education to publish that information and disaggregate the data by various demographics. That first report was alarming. At the time, black students were almost six times more likely to be disciplined than white students. Students as young as pre-kindergarten were being suspended for tardiness and age-appropriate behavior like temper tantrums. One of the first bills we passed when Grosso became Chair was to prohibit the suspension and expulsion of 3-and 4-year-olds in both DCPS and public charter schools in DC. We also stepped up data collection to find out more about what was happening in schools and to foster increased transparency. As you know, several years later, building on the work that I had done, Councilmember Grosso drafted and passed the Student Fair Access to School Act which went even further in limiting the use of exclusionary discipline practices in our public schools. If I am elected, I am committed to continuing to work on this issue. I support reducing the presence of police officers in District public schools. I question the breadth of the training they receive to actually work with young people, and often times their presence does not de-escalate situations. I also believe the Council needs to increase the at-risk funding so that schools can invest more in restorative justice practices, trauma-informed trainings, and critical personnel like school psychologists. The nascent work between the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement and high schools, starting with Anacostia High School, provides a blueprint for more effective approaches to public safety with our students. I would seek to expand that work.

Ed Lazere: We need to do more to support the academic success of low-income students of color, to address the trauma they face, and to respond to behavioral health needs in schools with positive supportive services. As a Council member, I would work to strengthen education with a focus on racial equity. I would work to fully implement the Birth-to-3 Act -- to provide high quality child care, home visiting, and health supports. In PreK-12 education, I would work to fully fund the equity-focused parts of the school funding formula, like at-risk funds. I would work to review the school lottery and admissions process, to identify ways it could be used to advance equity (it currently is not). I also would work to support the socio-emotional health of youth. Through my work at DCFPI, I supported the Student Fair Access to Schools Act, to ban expulsions and suspensions. We still need to do more to address inappropriate behavioral responses in schools, such as creating policies to limit or govern isolation of students during the school day as a disciplinary measure. I support expanding funding to train all teachers in trauma-informed education, to expand restorative justice programs in schools, to fund the Positive School Climate fund, and to expand mental health staffing in schools. I also support the requests/demands that came this school year from students at Anacostia High School, including doing more to ensure safe passage to and from school and keeping schools open late on Friday afternoon. I support expansion of summer and afterschool programs to support youth, as well as expanding the community schools model to more schools. Schools should be safe and comforting spaces where children feel welcome. This is especially important in communities where a large share of students have been exposed to violence or other trauma. A police presence is detrimental to that, so I support reducing police presence in schools.

Mario Cristaldo: Addressing and eliminating the school to prison pipeline requires community and government involvements. DC must start providing and securing the basic needs of all residents in distress areas. It is already well documented some of the most urgent issues are affordable housing, health care, food security, job opportunities and public safety. Active police presence in our public school system sends a wrong message to educators and students about the very purpose of attending schools. Active police presence is not needed in our school system.

Michangelo Scruggs: The reality for many African American children is that, because of lack of educational opportunities, they are forced into jobs and into paths designed for them that do not allow them to prosper. We have to take a look at improving education for our African American youth, but also provide mentoring and tutoring in our communities that offers positive role models from which our young people can gleam the belief that the sky is the limit, not the barriers they see in front of them. I believe police officers that are friendly and positive should be in our schools, not the cops that negatively profile our students through their actions. Removing the cops won't fix the problem, raising the standard will.

Mónica Palacio: Yes, I support reducing the number and presence of officers in District public school’s and we must increase investments in other support services. My vision for the District’s education system is to advance racial equity in public education and closing opportunity gaps by:

  • Increasing resources to students and schools who need support the most, while prioritizing Black and Brown children
  • Increasing resources to hire and train effective educators and school leaders
  • Increasing funding for the physical improvement of schools in underserved communities.

I will prioritize student safety and well-being by removing police officers from schools and increasing funding for student health related needs. While the Social Worker-toStudent ratio in the District is much better than that of our nation’s (1:50 vs 1:200), I want us to further fund mental and social services to meet the needs of children in low income neighborhoods. COVID-19 has brought forward the ways in which our schools do not meet the needs of our children. Families living in poverty or close to poverty face lack of health care, lack of food, risk of eviction, and lack of resources to fully engage in virtual learning. This is why my top 3 priorities to move forward as a city are:

  • Funding for residents to pay their rent and mortgages during this economic crisis.
  • Invest in an equitable school system where all students needs are being met
  • End police brutality and ensure that all District residents feel safe in the hands of the government

Robert White: We reduce the school-to-prison pipeline by identifying and treating the traumas that so many of our children carry with them to school, and by properly addressing behavioral issues that stem from trauma, hunger, and physical health. When we treat every outburst as a crime, we don’t help our kids overcome obstacles that they could overcome with assistance. We also have to give our youth more opportunities for fun and structured out-of-school time opportunities. I have focused much of my work in my first term to addressing these underlying issues by expanding mental health and wrap-around services. I have also pushed for us to have more compassion for our kids who deserve for us to put more resources into treating and assisting them than we do to punishing them for their circumstances. I voted to reduce the number of officers in schools because I know what it’s like to be a kid acting out, and everyday I count my blessings that my actions were addressed by school staff rather than police officers who have a different obligation and mission. I also recognize that a number of the School Resource Officers, who are also Black community members will lose their jobs and be replaced by people that are not from our neighborhoods if we don’t offer educational opportunities, certifications, or training to assist them in transitioning to new roles as we move away from having police in our schools. I have and will continue to listen to school communities that know their needs much better than the Council or executive.

Chander Jayaraman: "I supported the Council’s vote to remove MPD officers from DC Public Schools. For many students, police presence is seen as a negative, not a positive, and it creates a climate of being scrutinized. For others, it creates a sense that school is not safe, that they should be worried. Those are not conducive to learning and can play a role in criminalizing typical child/adolescent behavior. Let’s replace MPD in schools with social services, mental health professionals, relevant learning, and, when necessary, appropriate non-police protection of students. Running the Latin American Youth Center’s YouthBuild program was some of the most meaningful work of my life, and gave me first-hand experience in how to create alternative education-to-career pathways for our at-risk youth and returning citizens. I worked with young people who wanted an alternative to their dangerous lives with dead-end paths. When students see school as relevant and they can envision a future for themselves, they view school differently. Our current school system pushes only one choice: college-or-nothing. That’s not right. We must give students vocational and career-focused pathways that match their interests and skills and lead to real-world work opportunities. Let’s bring back career and technical education, revamp the Community College system as a post-secondary springboard to a career, and forge partnerships with employers to identify and guide students to in-demand good-paying jobs. We should work with students — and especially students of color — starting in middle school to develop transition plans from school to adulthood, and provide mentors, more apprenticeships, and internships for high school students. Finally, let’s create new middle school options to reduce overcrowding and meet the growing demand as we have done for elementary and high schools. "

Vincent Orange: did not answer

Marya Pickering: did not answer

Markus Batchelor: did not answer

Claudia Barragan: did not answer

Keith Silver: did not answer

Joe Bishop-Henchman: did not answer

Kathy Henderson: did not answer

Eric M. Rogers: did not answer

A'shia Howard: did not answer

3. There have been a number of troubling incidents over the past year involving police use of force in interactions with youth. Would you introduce or support legislation that addresses use of force by all D.C. law enforcement on juveniles, including bans on handcuffing, requirements that guardians be immediately contacted, and non-police child health or behavior specialists be present when police interact with youth?

Q.There have been a number of troubling incidents over the past year involving police use of force in interactions with youth. Would you introduce or support legislation that addresses use of force by all D.C. law enforcement on juveniles, including bans on handcuffing, requirements that guardians be immediately contacted, and non-police child health or behavior specialists be present when police interact with youth?
A.

Calvin Gurley:

  1. Education, education and more education with extracurricular activities in school. We must educate our children and teach them behavior skills, respect for elders and authority (school or outside the school).
  2. School must discourage children from entering bad behavior, taking on actions of adults and respect authority.
  3. More Boys and Girls Clubs are needed in the community.
  4. School must offer our children exposure to the arts, museums, attainable professional careers by enticing their minds.
  5. D.C. Metropolitan Police Department must recruit and train more high school students (Police Cadet Program) to become officers and serve their communities. Too many MPD police officers are not residents of the District of Columbia and their lack of knowledge and experience in a different culture will present a challenge and test their fears.
  6. I agree that child health or behavior specialist or mental health professional should be present (at the scene of a call) to assist the officer with youth and adults.

Will Merrifield: Yes, these are common sense reforms. I will fight at every turn against policies that treat working class families as disposable. I have seen firsthand the trauma that is inflicted on kids who are recycled in and out of homelessness through failed policies like Rapid Rehousing, and I know what it does to people when their communities are physically ripped apart and replaced. The way that police treat working class children, especially Black children, is representative of the cruel way the District treats working class human beings.

Marcus Goodwin: While a ban on handcuffs and other stipulations such as a the presence of a behavioral specialist sounds nice in theory it may not work in practice as officers are fundamentally trained to confront and address hostile situations in a split second. If not handcuffs, officers will use other means to restrain students as they cannot determine who is a juvenile and who is an adult in the heat of a confrontation. Putting more stipulations that an officer has to think about before taking any action may not work in practice. Let’s put more focus on the home life of these students and I believe the symptoms will take care of themselves: underemployment, lack of job training, lack of affordable healthcare and childcare. If we address those fundamental issues, there won’t be as great a need to address symptomatic issues such as negative police interaction.

Jeanné Lewis: I support MPD’s new policy that does not allow officers to handcuff suspects under the age of twelve, however I believe this policy should be expanded given the potential effects of officers having discretion for suspects between the ages of 13 and 17. I do support a requirement that parents must be contacted immediately, and I support the new policy that allows juvenile suspects to be released to parents/guardians unless an immediate threat to public safety is present.

Addison Sarter: I will definitely support legislation for behavior specialists to be present when police interact with youth, and legislation for guardians to be contacted immediately. Most importantly, as mentioned earlier, I will fight for Black people to have our own police force.

Alexander Padro: I would support and be willing to introduce legislation establishing standards for interactions between police and youth, including restricting the use of handcuffing to situations where the youth are demonstrating the potential for danger to themselves and others; the immediate contacting of parents or guardians and provision of legal representation; and the use of professionals other than police as first responders to situations where youth are concerned and violence is not expected to result.

Ann Wilcox: Yes, juveniles should not be restrained, handcuffed (particularly while being questioned). Parents and guardians should be contacted immediately, and child health or behavior specialists present when police interact with youth. The shooting of Deon Kay (who had just turned 18) about a month ago, was an example of police interacting in a lethal way, with young people who they knew or recognized! Instead of interacting and building relationships with the young people, they approached them in a militarized fashion, and Deon Kay ended up being shot by police.

Franklin Garcia: Yes.

Christina Henderson: Unfortunately for some young people in our city, they have to devote immense psychological resources to their day-to-day survival, including their interactions with the police (both MPD and Metro Transit Police). I would introduce or support legislation that addresses use of force by all DC law enforcement when it comes to juveniles. I also would push for a provision that requires MPD to further disaggregate their stops data by age, so we can have a better understanding of how often young people are being stopped and searched. There is a growing body of neuroscience research that shows that the frontal lobe, which governs problem solving and judgement, is not fully developed in a youth until their mid-twenties, and yet officers approach their dealings with young people in the same manner that they do fully grown adults. This must change.

Ed Lazere: Yes.

Mario Cristaldo: Yes, I will support legislation that address use of force by any type of law enforcement against our youth in DC. I will also support legislation that requires public and private DC school systems to have a set of procedures in dealing with youth behavioral issues without any police presence in our school system unless the administration determine that police involvement is absolutely necessary.

Michangelo Scruggs: Yes, I believe that we should outlaw unncessary excessive use of force on every person here in DC. I believe that handcuffs may be essential in subduing a suspect, but should only be used if the person is going to be arrested, not questioned at the scene. This is meant to harass and embarrass, not to subdue. Guardians must be immediately contacted for minors, and specialists should be present on the scene just in case their services are needed, which will be true in many caswes.

Mónica Palacio: Yes, I would consider and support such legislation. The use of lethal force by MPD has resulted in too many young lives lost in the District. As a member of City Council, I will increase investments in evidence-based programs such as violence interrupters. For more than ten years, I worked on youth adult partnerships to help gang-involved youth and young people whose lives had been devastated by violence, rebuild their lives. Using successful models such as Barrios Unidos, YouthBuild, and Public Allies, I saw the results when young people were able to rebuild hope, get a GED, get meaningful work and start a new chapter in their lives. I must also assert that I believe in the principles of the current abolition movement which includes ending mass incarceration, decriminalizing youth and early parole programs for youth who need a second chance, and ending police brutality. These are the principles that will guide and inform my work as a legislator.

Robert White: Yes. I have been the most vocal member of the Council on policing children tactics that our law enforcement agencies use - particularly with children and youth. I called the first ever Council hearing on this topic in January. I have tried to work with law enforcement to make sure they understand the impact that aggressive policing and handcuffing can have on kids.

Chander Jayaraman: "Yes. At one time, social workers would ride with MPD and would often be the first to interact with someone in trouble. We should not ask our police to be social workers, mental health workers, agents to service homelessness, and so on. We should take those responsibilities away from police and also consider a program of “de-escalators” - police officers trained in de-escalation as the preferred interaction. I strongly support rethinking policing in this city. Shortly after the death of George Floyd brought new attention to these issues, as an elected Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Vice-Chair with relationships across the District, I convened the Deputy Police Chief, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety, NAACP and others, with ANC Commissioners from every ward, for a Town Hall to reimagine policing. There was a surprising degree of common ground on what should and shouldn’t be the roles of the police, and we were able to share our recommendations. I have great respect for the role of police and the challenges of their position, but I have also seen use of excessive force in my neighborhood — times when a simple disturbance gets escalated because of an adversarial approach. So, yes, I support legislation to address use of force in interactions with youth. I supported the ban on handcuffing children under 12 and agree with the need for non-police presence and support in most situations involving youth. I want to see the Council review evidence of what works here and in other cities, for example the Boston PALS, and what causes harm. I will propose and support legislation to bring good practices here, and to change practices that are harmful or ineffective."

Vincent Orange: did not answer

Marya Pickering: did not answer

Markus Batchelor: did not answer

Claudia Barragan: did not answer

Keith Silver: did not answer

Joe Bishop-Henchman: did not answer

Kathy Henderson: did not answer

Eric M. Rogers: did not answer

A'shia Howard: did not answer

4. Do you support ending the practice of “stop and frisk” by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), and what additional measures would you support as a Councilmember to increase police accountability in D.C.?

Q.Do you support ending the practice of “stop and frisk” by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), and what additional measures would you support as a Councilmember to increase police accountability in D.C.?
A.

Calvin H. Gurley: did not answer

Will Merrifield: Yes, Stop and Frisk has proven time and again to be a racist excuse for police to harass and intimidate people of color. Furthermore, these interactions are traumatic, unconstitutional, and all too frequently, lethal. The numbers say it all. In just 5 months, DC cops did nearly 63,000 stop & frisks, more than 2,600 a week, & 72% were of Black DC residents. Of the “non-ticket” stops, 87% were of Black DC residents. Only 5% were of white residents. I would immediately move to end Stop and Frisk. I would also work to remove military-grade weapons from the MPD, legally prohibit any collaboration with the IDF, publicly release all information and footage on the deaths of Jeffrey Price, Marqueese Alston, and Q’Quan Young, and institute mandatory public transparency for every police-involved incident.

Marcus Goodwin: Absolutely, the tricky part is how do we go about reaching this solution. What we need to focus on is racial sensitivity and bias training for MPD officers. The MPD released a report last year showing that 70% of all traffic stops were African Americans, while we are only 46% of the population in the District. We should also consider that an issue such as stop and frisk is complicated given that an officer can invent probable cause for a stop. Therefore, let’s seek more funding for legislation like the NEAR Act. We should also push for an independent advisory council that will investigate.

Addison Sarter: I support ending the practice of stop and frisk. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stated that “The police are little more than “enforcers” of the present system of exploitation and often demonstrate particular contempt for poor Negroes, so that they are deprived of any sense of human dignity and the status of citizenship in order that they may be controlled and “kept in line.” In White neighborhoods, police are there to protect and serve. On the other hand, police in predominantly low income Black neighborhoods operate as armed tax collectors. Their purpose for being there is to extract wealth from the Black community. In 2015, after Michael Brown was murdered by Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, the FBI investigated the Ferguson Police Department. They uncovered a racist scheme. The email of Ferguson city officials exposed that in order to raise revenue in the city, they were going to write excessive fines on the residents in their city, who were predominantly poor Black people. This report also uncovered that it was NOT just Ferguson. It is nationwide, including DC. The studies showed that cities rely more on fines and tickets if the city has more Black residents. Many people, including myself, were led to believe that it was taxes, that made the colonists in America rebel against the British Empire. The truth was that it was also the process in which they were being taxed. This process of taxation, as MSNBC host and author of the book, “A Colony Within A Nation” , Chris Hayes, put it, …was “the first era of stop and frisk.” Stop in frisk helped ignite the colonists to go to war with Britain. The British Empire controlled the trade of goods in the colonies in America. If a colonist wanted to import or export goods that were not produced in the colonies, they had to import it through the British Empire. Importing goods through the British Empire meant having to pay a huge tariff or tax to the empire. The colonists did not want to pay those high taxes on the goods, so they began the illegal practice of smuggling goods. They would smuggle goods such as molasses. This smuggling business provided a bulk of the economy in the colonies. It was similar to the black market in drug infested Black neighborhoods. The only difference is that the drug dealing in Black neighborhoods is due to the American government systematically locking Black people in poverty for centuries. The way colonists would smuggle goods was by ships. The British government sent troops to America and began enforcing smuggling laws, in which the British navy would patrol the sea coasts of America and stop the ships of colonists and search them. These “stop and frisk” practices were what caused the colonists in America to use violence to respond to their oppression This is why Thomas Jefferson wrote about police brutality initiated by the King of the British Empire, in the Declaration of Independence, saying, “He has sent hither swarms of officer’s to harass our people and eat out their substance” As Chris Hayes notes in his book, this is no different from Eric Garner, whose last few words before being murdered by the police in NY was, “Every time you see me, you want to mess with me. I’m tired of it. It stops today. Why would you…? Everyone standing here will tell you I didn’t do nothing. I did not sell nothing. Because every time you see me, you want to harass me. You want to stop me ..selling cigarettes. I’m minding my business, officer, I’m minding my business. Please just leave me alone. I told you the last time, please just leave me alone. please please, don’t touch me. Do not touch me.” So basically stop and frisk is simply the colonizers(American government) trying to extract wealth from the colonized(Black community) back to the colonizers.

Alexander Padro: Probable cause should continue to determine the ability of police officers to search suspects for weapons and controlled substances. Searches and seizures based on biased policing should be banned.

Ann Wilcox: Yes, stop and frisk techniques do not work, and are a tool of oppression of black and brown communities. The NEAR Act required collecting statistics on stop and frisk, which were not supplied by MPD until a court forced them to comply. Jumpout techniques can also lead to fatal consequences, as happened recently with the shooting by MPD of Deon Kay.

Franklin Garcia: Discriminative stop-and-frisk practices must be halted immediately. I would demand:

  • officers are all equipped with body-cams
  • all body-cams be turned-on throughout an entire shift a MPD officer is on the job, and at very minimum the moment MPD engages with anyone for any reason
  • review and make all recordings public, where able
  • fund and strengthen the Internal Affairs Department in charge of investigating all MPD abuses
  • end forced-mediation
  • provide tangible remediation when MPD is at fault, including arresting and sentencing MPD officers, if found at fault

Christina Henderson: Yes, I support ending the practice of “stop and frisk” by MPD. For decades in DC, black and brown people especially in the city’s poorest neighborhoods have been fighting for the presumption of innocence. The ability to move in public spaces without suspicion, to be able to exist in our city without needing to pay an inordinate amount of attention to your dress and speech just to be considered law-abiding. Stop and frisk, jump-outs, Operation Ceasefire, the rise of pretext stops, Operation Clean Sweep—all of these iterations of systematic searches have disproportionately impacted black and brown communities and have not resulted in a corresponding, sustained decrease in crime. The most recent data released in March found that 72% of the stops conducted between July 22 and December 31 were of black people, even though black residents currently make up only 46% of DC’s population. Ending stop and frisk, and pretext stops in general, can help remedy some of the racial disparities in our criminal justice system. Other measures to increase police accountability that I would support as a Councilmember: amending DC’s overly restrictive policies when it comes to the public release of body-worn camera footage, increasing the Police Complaints Board’s budget so that they can fund investigative staff, and changing the makeup of the Police Complaints Board so that there is more independence.

Ed Lazere: I support ending the practice of stop and frisk, which often is used in a racially biased way, reduces community trust of the police, and is not an effective approach to public safety. A study from New York CIty found that only 0.1% of stops led to conviction for a violent crime. Regarding increasing police accountability, I would:

  • Establish police disciplinary policies in the union contract. The most recent collective bargaining agreement removed discipline policies, taking away an important tool to establish clear rules for police behavior and consequences for inappropriate behavior.
  • Make officers responsible for intervening when another officer is engaged in inappropriate treatment of residents, as is required in many departments.
  • Release body camera footage and officer names within 24 hours after a police-involved fatality: Body camera footage for fatal incidents often is never released and officers never publicly identified. The names of MPD officers involved in the deaths of D’Quan Young, Marqueese Alston, and Jeff Price in 2018, still have not been released. In neighboring police departments in suburban Maryland, as well as numerous departments across the country, body camera footage and names of officers involved are released within days. The families and friends of those who have been killed by police, as well as the broader community, deserve to know the facts around these events, and this greater transparency would increase community trust.
  • Expand the role of the Office of Police Complaints: One issue is that anyone submitting a complaint must have first-hand knowledge for an investigation to be started. Other evidence, such as video footage, is not sufficient. In addition, OPC currently can only make recommendations of discipline, leaving final decisions to MPD. Instead, OPC recommendations should be binding. This also would allow OPC to support transparency over disciplinary actions in specific incidents and the officers involved.
  • Align MPD’s General Orders with national best practices: OPC Director Tobin has testified that MPD’s General Orders -- its internal policies and procedures -- are in many cases not in line with national standards. Just as the Office of the Attorney General conducted a review of MPD policies related specifically to interacting with young people, I would support a comprehensive review and update of all of MPD’s General Orders so they are aligned with national best practices.

Mario Cristaldo: Yes, I do support ending this police practice by MPD.

Michangelo Scruggs: We need a new police chief and administration with the core values and cultural sensitivities necessary to uphold the public trust. I do not support stop and frisk unless you have a warrant to search and seize. Stop and frisk in and of itself is harassment.

Mónica Palacio: Yes, I will support and/or introduce legislation that not only bans this practice, but that severely restricts when and how a police officer approaches citizens. These stops are invasive and traumatizing and they have become an intimidation tool that often stems from racially-biased profiling. I will demand transparency and accountability from the MPD as we build new crisis response systems for families and individuals who need to call on their government for help. I will establish a human rights code of ethics that protects Black and Brown communities and low-income families from harm, intimidation and unjust treatment from government agencies.

Robert White: Yes. As ACLU DC has consistently reported, the Metropolitan Police Department’s (MPD) stop and frisk data shows that the stops continue to disproportionately affect people of color. I have been vocal about the need to end stop and frisk. MPD has committed to working with independent researchers to evaluate bias, but the Council must continue its strong oversight to ensure we are working with a sense of urgency. These stops can be and often are traumatizing and aggravate tense relationships between police and people of color. The quicker we can address and resolve these discriminatory practices and the biases that underlie them, the sooner our residents can begin to build more trust in our law enforcement. This will make us all safer. I expand on several accountability measures that I’ve led on to address bias in our policing tactics in response to later questions in this questionnaire.

Chander Jayaraman: "Yes. I have the greatest respect for the men and women of the MPD who risk their lives on a daily basis to keep our city safe. But as a father, I would be outraged if I learned that my son had been thrown against a wall and frisked for no other reason than his age or the color of his skin. With a reimagined, smarter approach to policing and public safety, that includes some of the actions I describe above, there would be less reason to make unreasonable and unnecessary stops. We must ensure that officers and MPD are held accountable to the rules of conduct they took an oath to uphold. We must supplement any legislative changes with a robust training program that helps officers to understand the limitations of their power and reduce the likelihood of over-policing."

Vincent Orange: did not answer

Marya Pickering: did not answer

Markus Batchelor: did not answer

Claudia Barragan: did not answer

Keith Silver: did not answer

Joe Bishop-Henchman: did not answer

Kathy Henderson: did not answer

Eric M. Rogers: did not answer

A'shia Howard: did not answer

5. Over the past two years, the number of homicides has increased significantly in the District despite an increase in police presence and enforcement. What solutions to community violence do you support outside of a law enforcement response?

Q.Over the past two years, the number of homicides has increased significantly in the District despite an increase in police presence and enforcement. What solutions to community violence do you support outside of a law enforcement response?
A.

Calvin Gurley: "...despite an increase in police presence.." This is totally inaccurate. Currently, the MPD employs approximately 2,700 police officers to service a city of 750,000 residents. This number is down from 4,200 officers servicing 450,000 residents during the term of Adrian Fenty as Mayor of the District. Education, Education and more education. Our schools must teach not only academics but take on the role of their parents between 9am to 3 pm. We must teach our children discipline, behavior skills and expectation we have for them to carry out as children respecting adults and those in authority. The District must invest more funding and services to school in high risk areas of the City. Our children have two homes...and one is the school Until, we can get this generation of students on track with decent behavioral skills the aforementioned suggestion must stay in place. Schools must be a safe place and a learning environment for our children. 1. Vocational Schools 2. Free field trips for students. 3. Marching Bands and student orchestras. 4. Competition among schools in; double-dutch matches , chess teams, fashion shows, Science Fairs and more. 5. Additional Boys and Girls Clubs operating in high risk areas of the city. 6. Drop Out Recovery Program...to return students to school.

Will Merrifield: It is vital that we address the issue of community violence through prevention by taking a holistic approach that strikes at the complex, interconnected root causes of this violence. Given the nature of this work, I believe that we must turn to people in communities that experience violence to lead the fight against violence. Legislation like the NEAR Act, for example, will only be successful if organizations that receive funding through the NEAR Act are from directly impacted communities. These organizations must be led by trusted members of the community that have been doing anti-violence and mental health wellness work in those communities prior to the passage of the NEAR Act. If members of these communities see NEAR Act funding going to organizations outside the community or contracts going to the groups in their communities that have political connections and no other community credibility, those community members will not rally around full funding and funded organizations will have limited impact. As a council member, I will approach violence as the public health problem that it is. I will fight for the establishment of unarmed mediation and violence interruption teams who are trained in de-escalation. I will fight to open trauma clinics in areas that experience elevated violence and deploy counselors to emergency rooms to meet with victims and families. I will fight for comprehensive mental health care, which all humans need, but which is most acutely needed in communities with high incidences of violent trauma. I also support the legalization of marijuana and the decriminalization of other drugs (modeled on Portugal’s approach). Police acting like an occupying force in communities of color is a trigger for violence. More broadly, though, we need to invest in building healthy, stable communities, starting with well-paying jobs. A core part of our campaign is a guaranteed jobs program to build thousands of units of social housing, which will provide good jobs and, most importantly, bring down the outrageous cost of living in DC so those who work every day to make DC function are able to live here. These jobs, and homes, will be available to returning citizens, offering a real path to life outside of detention. Stable jobs and homes will restabilize schools, providing a sturdy foundation for the next generation and keeping money in people’s pockets that can be recycled back into our local economy.

Marcus Goodwin: I’m a firm believer in the Cure Violence model and believe that in addition to improved police training, we need to start using the methods and strategies associated with disease control. Firstly, the District should invest in training violence interrupters and outreach workers to prevent violence by identifying and mediating conflicts in communities and following up to ensure that the conflict does not reignite. Secondly, culturally trained outreach workers should work with high risk individuals to make them less likely to commit violence by meeting them where they’re at, talking to them about the impacts of violence, and helping them obtain social services, such as job training and drug treatment. Finally, workers must engage leaders in the community, residents, local business owners, faith leaders and service providers to convey the message that the community does not support the use of violence. Only through collaborative community engagement can we stem the tide of violent crime in the District. We must provide all the necessary resources to improve communities holistically.

Jeanné Lewis: I would expand DC’s Cure the Streets Program and name all staff and volunteers as “essential.”. This program uses a public health approach to address violence as a disease, something that can be interrupted, treated, and stopped from spreading. It employs people that are credible within their community to help de-escalate violent situations. In other cities where this has been implemented, there has been a 20-60% reduction in shootings and killings.

Addison Sarter: The community violence, particularly in the Black community, is due to the 400 plus year genocide that the American government has committed against us. It is no coincidence that Native Americans on reservations in America have violent crime rates twice the national average. If you commit genocide against any ethnic group and systematically lock them in poverty for centuries, there will be community violence. Poverty causes violence. If you fix the poverty, you fix the violence. My main priority if elected is reparations to the Black community in DC. One of the two biggest ways to build wealth in America has been through owning a home and owning a business. Black people have been systematically prevented from owning homes and businesses for centuries. Therefore, my reparations plan will increase black homeownership and black entrepreneurship. The reparations plan will also focus on more funding for after school and mentoring programs, which have proven to reduce crime. If elected, one of the first bills I would introduce is for Black neighborhoods in DC to have our own police force, selected by members of the community. It would be separate from MPD. Our own police force will also create many jobs for Black people in our communities. The Black Panther Party laid the foundation of policing our communities in the 60’s and the Nation of Islam proved they could successfully do it in the 90’s. We have more resources today in 2020 to help get it done and build off of them.

Alexander Padro: The halfway measure of decriminalizing marijuana without full legalization has led to the consumption of cannabis in public space and an increase in street marijuana dealing. Intoxicated individuals are more likely to respond to minor conflicts through violence, often resulting in gunfire and loss of life by the parties and innocent bystanders. Upon the achievement of statehood, Douglas Commonwealth should immediately more to fully legalize marijuana, including licensure, regulation and taxation, and enforce the restrictions against consumption of marijuana in public space and sales of marijuana by individuals.

Ann Wilcox: Violence interruptors and Cure the Streets programs should be supported and enhanced. They have been shown to work in other cities. Other interventions - such as mental health/behavioral counselors - should also be present in communities. Finally, police should built relationships with members of the community, not simply be a militarized presence - which does not prevent crime.

Franklin Garcia: As a member of the DC Council, atop of my priorities will be major investment in early childhood and family developmental programs to avail low income families with real opportunities academic, professional and prosperity advancement.

  • Early Childhood and Family Programs investment
  • Improvement in DCPS education system
  • Investment in enrichment programs for youth
  • Meaningful Summer School Programs
  • Job readiness, training and sustainability
  • Fair and equitable income
  • Investment in marginalized neighborhoods
  • Investment in home ownership for low income families
  • Mandatory MPD body-cams for all officers on duty during entire shift duration

Christina Henderson: Even with the passage and implementation of the NEAR Act, we still have not seen a true shift from a reliance on law enforcement response to a community response to and prevention of violence. We need to look no further than the DC budget. For FY21, the Mayor has proposed $578 million operating budget for MPD. In contrast, the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement (ONSE), whose whole mission is to foster community-based strategies to help prevent violence and increase public safety would only see $6.7 million. That is approximately 0.8 percent of the MPD budget. As a Councilmember, I would look to building capacity in ONSE. They have seen impact with initiatives like their Pathways Program and we need to double down on their work and provide them with a budget that allows them to make significant subgrants to violence interrupter organizations. If elected, I would want to explore tying DC’s ONSE and overall violence prevention funding to a percentage of the MPD budget. In the long-term, we have to deal with the societal conditions that breed crime—lack of housing, limited access to jobs that pay a living wage, the need for community-based trauma services, and having safe places for young people to channel their energy. And listening to the needs of communities is a first step – that’s why I support the Ivy City community’s fight to have more community and open space at the old Crummell School redevelopment site. DC is rapidly changing and a tale of two cities. And the more we box people in, building spaces around them which they don’t believe they are welcome or can afford, we are creating hot spots for future unrest.

Ed Lazere: I support doing more to treat crime as a public health problem, including the recommendations of the Phase 1 report of the District Task Force on Jails & Diversion, where I served as an advisory member. The commission found that the keys to reduced incarceration and greater public safety include a stronger safety net, a trauma-informed approach to community needs, an emphasis on community mediation, improved behavioral health services and more. As noted above, I support expanding school-based mental health, rehabilitative justice, and positive supports. The NEAR Act represented an important effort to approach public safety as a public health issue, with the potential to change the culture of policing/public safety in DC. This transition is only partially underway. In particular, we can do more to invest in violence interruption services, and reverse cuts proposed in the FY 2021 budget. We also can do more to engage communities most affected by violence and crime to design public health strategies and avoid incarceration. I would support doing an analysis of DC’s various violence interruption programs, through ONSE and OAG, to strengthen and expand the approaches that are working. I also would push for greater transparency on the outcomes of key efforts, like the Pathways program at ONSE. We cannot improve programs without better information. I would push to expand arrest diversion, including pushing the Mayor to create the cross-agency Community Crime Prevention Teams called for in the NEAR Act but never implemented as intended. The mayor chose to forgo this approach and instead give MPD officers the discretion to divert residents to mental health services rather than arrest, but this is not a suitable substitute because it does not engage professional staff from DBH and DHS unless an officer chooses to bring them in. We should not leave these decisions to officer discretion; there are some signs that MPD officers and leadership are not embracing pre-arrest diversion as they should.

Mario Cristaldo: I propose to enhance crime prevention programs at community level, including providing adequate housing to children, youth, and seniors; create job opportunities and hiring locally in distress areas of the city, community organizing and more funding opportunities to communitybased organizations to meet the urgent needs of the residents of those areas.

Michangelo Scruggs: Communities of color need to take back our community and provide mentorship on all levels. Additionally DC needs stiffer penalties for those who perpetrate violent crimes without regard to age, sex, or race. The only way we can clamp down on crime is to enforce laws that send the message that we will not tolerate violence in our communities.

Mónica Palacio: As a Council Member with experience in Civil and Human rights I see this terrible trend in violence as a result of the systemic failure of our governments, both local and federal, to invest in preventative healthcare, affordable housing, equitable education, accessible food and transportation. When we honor our social contract by meeting people’s basic needs and more DC residents benefit from economic prosperity, then trends in violence decrease. Our fight for statehood is essential to decreasing community violence. We need to be able to have the power to pass the type of gun control laws that serve and protect the interests of the District and I am committed to continue fighting for DC statehood. Statehood is about fighting against systemic racism and gaining full control over passing our own local laws. Statehood means no more Congressional control over our local issues and giving back the power to DC residents to practice their constitutional rights and human rights by having a voice in the process of legislation of their city

Robert White: Public safety must become a central mission of our entire government. There is no shortcut to reducing crime. We learned during the crime peak in the 1980s and 90s that trying to improve public safety by over-relying on police and prisons just kicks the can down the road and increases crime in the long-run. We have to take a holistic approach. Without substantial investments in our students, stabilizing housing, jobs, and mental health, we will continue to see spikes in crime and racial inequity. We have the diagnosis, but we have not invested enough in the cure. In the past year, we have put a downpayment on crime intervention. I have funded some of this from my Committee. We have to push this investment further. I have also shared research with Council colleagues and expressed my desire to ensure that our city budget includes funding to keep residents safe by using non-police responses for calls for service for things like public intoxication, substance abuse, noise complaints, mental health intervention, family disputes, children involved in non-violent behavior, and routine traffic stops. Many issues that currently prompt police intervention do not require police presence. We need to rethink how we use our city’s resources to give residents an alternative to calling the cops. This helps us avoid negative police interactions and will protect officers from difficult situations that they are not equipped to handle.

Chander Jayaraman: "Crime is the result of a system that provides little hope for those in need and makes it difficult for our officers to serve and protect. It’s time to redouble our investments in community policing, violence interrupters, and crime prevention initiatives. We should also support and publicize the Red Flag law to protect families and people who might cause danger to themselves, increase funds for the gun buyback program and involve the faith community in that effort. I support the call by the DC Chapter of Moms Demand Action for the mayor to appoint a cross-agency Gun Violence Prevention Czar to coordinate gun violence prevention, intervention, enforcement and response efforts. In addition, we must provide mental health counselors in schools for students and young people - something that students consistently cite as a critical need to address violence. It should be noted, however, that we will never fully succeed at reducing violence until we address its root causes—ensuring that people are able to meet their basic needs, improving mental health services, addressing systemic discrimination that holds people down, and assure everyone has the economic opportunities to get ahead, not just survive. We must give young people a path to economic independence and a vision of success, otherwise violence is an all-too-easy alternative to choose. We should also do more to encourage and support law enforcement and other first-responders to live in the communities they serve. We need to require developers to include affordable workforce housing for them and other frontline workers (and teachers). By residing in the same communities they support, police officers will have the opportunity to build authentic relationships with their neighbors. And we should expand the MPD Cadet Corps program, which brings local residents with a stake in the community into policing in their communities. "

Vincent Orange: did not answer

Marya Pickering: did not answer

Markus Batchelor: did not answer

Claudia Barragan: did not answer

Keith Silver: did not answer

Joe Bishop-Henchman: did not answer

Kathy Henderson: did not answer

Eric M. Rogers: did not answer

A'shia Howard: did not answer

6. This summer, D.C. Council introduced “The Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Amendment Act of 2020” (Bill 23-882) to address critical failures in transparency and accountability of the MPD. Provisions of this bill include public release of body-worn camera footage and names of officers for incidents involving serious use of force and officer-involved deaths, limits on consent-searches, a ban on the use of tear gas and rubber bullets for First Amendment assemblies, limits on the police union to negotiate discipline terms, and limits on use of force, among others. Do you support passage of this legislation? In your response, please also state what changes you would make, either to existing provisions of the bill or in terms of additional policing reforms you believe should be included.

Q.This summer, D.C. Council introduced “The Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Amendment Act of 2020” (Bill 23-882) to address critical failures in transparency and accountability of the MPD. Provisions of this bill include public release of body-worn camera footage and names of officers for incidents involving serious use of force and officer-involved deaths, limits on consent-searches, a ban on the use of tear gas and rubber bullets for First Amendment assemblies, limits on the police union to negotiate discipline terms, and limits on use of force, among others. Do you support passage of this legislation? In your response, please also state what changes you would make, either to existing provisions of the bill or in terms of additional policing reforms you believe should be included.
A.

Calvin Gurley:  The District must amend the Negotiated Agreement contract it has with the MPD Union.

  • Police officer should not be allowed to remove themselves (three days) from an incident involving a shooting or a fatal shooting of an individual.

Lynching of two Black Men in the District...NO MPD Response

  • The MPD has refused to give any information into the lynching of two Black men in the District.
  • a. Washington Post, Peter Hermann - "Man body found hanging from tree in Northwest Washington. Dated March 26, 2020. I HAVE A VIDEO SHOWING THE man's hands bound behind his back. This was not a suicide. b. Unreported - lynching in at 12th and Newton Street, N.E., behind the CVS Store in a wooded area. While canvassing for candidate petition signatures at the Giant Food Store on Rhode Island Avenue, N.E. several shoppers informed me of the lynching at 12th and Newton St. N.E. A MPD officer working in the Giant Store (security) stated she knew of the lynching at 12th and Newton when I asked to signed a petition to have the FBI conduct an investigation into the D.C. lynching.

The Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Amendment Act of 2020

The current Council has lingered with addressing the Police Chief refusing (two years of delay) to release Stop and Frisk Reports...per requirements in the D.C. NEAR Act.

Police Reforms...

  1. MPD should require the assistance of a social worker or mental health worker to the call in efforts to de-escalate the situation on the scene.
  2. MPD should receive training in de-escalating situations.
  3. MPD recruitment lesson should include cultural awareness training.
  4. MPD must activate the Police Cadet Programs in all D.C. high schools to recruit those students who desire to serve their communities in which they were raised.

Will Merrifield: Yes, I completely support passage of Bill 23-882. The problems the Act addresses have been ruminating for decades, and I’m glad we finally have the public and political will to make these long-overdue reforms a reality.

Jeanné Lewis: Yes, I fully support this legislation.This legislation has a lot of potential, and the Council needs to ensure that every component is fully funded and enforced. DC currently has a higher incarceration rate than any US state. With this knowledge, ensuring jail is safe and rehabilitative is more crucial than ever, so citizens do not recidivate after release. This includes mental health care and job training while incarcerated. Decarceration must start within the system because of the place we are at right now. However, this strategy must run concurrently with strategies outside of the justice system, to steer people away from getting involved. This would include expanding the Cure the Streets program, building police-community relations, and greater use of diversion courts. Additionally, I support ending the discriminatory practice of “stop and frisk” in Washington, DC as it disproportionately affects Black and brown residents. Releasing stop and frisk data was just one aspect of the NEAR Act that took years to take effect after being passed. I would use my seat on the Council to hold MPD accountable for meeting the requirements of the NEAR Act, recognizing that it may be necessary to leverage litigation as an option. I believe the cost of litigating these cases should come out of the MPD budget, rather than increasing spending to expand the number of police on the streets (as has been proposed in recent budgets). It is not a matter of needing more police - but needing our police to understand and respect our communities. I would focus on efforts to increase the proportion of police on the MPD force who live in the District. As older police officers retire, our fellow residents should have a priority in hiring. DC can also incentivize police officers living in the District by expanding home down payment assistance and other incentives.

Addison Sarter: Yes I support that legislation. As stated earlier I will fight for Black people to have our own police force. Law enforcement has been killing Black people for 401 years. No legislation nor police training will stop that. The simple fact that the FBI put out a report that the KKK has infiltrated police departments throughout out America, is more than enough of a reason, as to why we need to police ourselves. We can’t afford to risk the chance of having any more racist terrorists in our neighborhoods. As stated earlier, if elected, one of the first bills I would introduce is for Black neighborhoods in DC to have our own police force, selected by members of the community. It would be separate from MPD. Our own police force will also create many jobs for Black people in our communities. The Black Panther Party laid the foundation in the 60’s and the Nation of Islam proved they could successfully do it in the 90’s. We have more resources today in 2020 to help get it done and build off of them. “Separation or Death.” Build our own or keep dying under this system.

Alexander Padro: I support most of the provisions of the emergency measures approved by the Council. I have concerns about restrictions on the ability of any union to negotiate working conditions or disciplinary procedures for the workers in their bargaining unit. That is a critical function of all labor organizations.

Ann Wilcox: Yes, I strongly support this legislation - and believe we must continue to reevaluate policing budgets, methods and resources. We should divert parts of the police budget to mental health and counseling services; violence interruptors; and other programs which reduce crime. We must eliminate use of lethal & harmful weapons (tear gas, rubber bullets) especially when used on peaceful protesters; mass arrests and mistreatment of such protesters also violates the First Amendment Assemblies Act (Title 5), which is already DC law.

Franklin Garcia: I support the passage of the “The Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Amendment Act of 2020,” and would advocate to go further. For example, we need to define what would constitute the releasing of names of officers involved in incidents of "serious use of force". But, is not the only thing that would need to be clarified. Accountability is a major factor of any type of police reform and must include holding police officers financially liable, if they are found violating a person’s civil rights.

Christina Henderson: I support the Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Act. As I have said before, there is deep-seated distrust between communities of color and MPD.It has been decades in the making and for far too long our government’s posture has been that certain communities are exaggerating the extent to which they are unfairly overpoliced and victims of abusive practices, and that releasing information would do more harm than good. Across the nation, policing has move towards greater transparency and reform, and it’s time for DC to follow suit. I would like to see the legislation expanded to address use of force when it comes juveniles, especially when it comes to handcuffing children and requiring that guardians be contacted immediately. Further, I would also push fora provision that requires MPD to disaggregate their stops data by age, so we can have a better understanding of how often young people are being stopped and searched.

Ed Lazere: I strongly supported passage of this legislation, as a starting point for better police accountability. As a Council member, I would push for the following additional reforms:

  • Ban tear gas, rubber bullets entirely, not just at first amendment rallies
  • Make officers responsible for intervening when another officer is engaged in inappropriate treatment of residents, as is required in many departments.
  • Expand the role of the Office of Police Complaints: One issue is that anyone submitting a complaint must have first-hand knowledge for an investigation to be started. Other evidence, such as video footage, is not sufficient. In addition, OPC currently can only make recommendations of discipline, leaving final decisions to MPD. Instead, OPC recommendations should be binding. This also would allow OPC to support transparency over disciplinary actions in specific incidents and the officers involved.
  • Align MPD’s General Orders with national best practices: OPC Director Tobin has testified that MPD’s General Orders -- its internal policies and procedures -- are in many cases not in line with national standards. Just as the Office of the Attorney General conducted a review of MPD policies related specifically to interacting with young people, I would support a comprehensive review and update of all of MPD’s General Orders so they are aligned with national best practices.

As discussed below, I believe we also need to be reducing the role of policing in public safety.

Mario Cristaldo: MPD must exude transparency, accountability and accuracy in handling any cases under their purview. I am for timely disclosure requirement for police actions after any type of incidents that they were directly involved. I will support such legislation.

Michangelo Scruggs: Yes I support this legislation. Tear gas and rubber bullets should never be used. I do support padded shields that block the advancement of crowds and help to contain the masses in a certain areas, and protect both the officer and protesters from harm. I believe police union contracts should be negotiated directly with City Council. In the past, police union contracts have been negotiated with the City Administrator, and has always been slanted to favor the police officers and does nothing to uphold the public trust. It is less likely that police unions will be able to negotiate shady terms with Council members who are sworn to uphold the will of the people.

Mónica Palacio: I do support passage of this legislation and I believe it represents an important first step for reform and transformation of our approach to law enforcement in the District. While the Council acted swiftly to address some immediate needs through this bill, when elected, I will call for a series of roundtables to hear reports and grievances from all stakeholders and identify problematic patterns and practices. Two examples of how I would strengthen this bill are:

  • More immediate release of body worn camera footage with some criteria in place given the need to protect the privacy of those involved; and
  • Temporary suspension of a “consent” search as it is hard to believe that true consent can be given in this context.

Robert White: Yes. I fully supported this legislation, I voted in favor of its passage, and I wrote the provisions of the Comprehensive Policing and Justice Reform Amendment Act of 2020 around the demilitarization of the police force and expanding the Police Complaints Board. The legislation was a great first step, and it will have a hearing in the fall, which will give us the opportunity to hear from experts and residents on where there may be room to strengthen several of the provisions. As a sitting member of the Council, I will be primarily looking at the dynamics of police union and the use of force regulations. We need to go further, especially in creating the infrastructure to remove police from non-public safety issues, like routine traffic stops, mental health issues, public intoxication, and other issues for which we do not need armed city employees to take the lead.

Chander Jayaraman: Yes, I support the emergency legislation from this past summer to require timely disclosure requirements after violent incidents -- including public release of body-worn camera footage and the establishment of independent investigations. These are vital ingredients to ensuring an open, transparent law enforcement process and trust with the community. It protects the integrity of officers who have acted appropriately and protects the public by assuring that officers who broke protocol or abused their power and acted unlawfully are brought to justice. I also support the provision that ensures that families of victims get to see footage first and gives them the right to stop public release.

Vincent Orange: did not answer

Marya Pickering: did not answer

Markus Batchelor: did not answer

Claudia Barragan: did not answer

Keith Silver: did not answer

Joe Bishop-Henchman: did not answer

Kathy Henderson: did not answer

Eric M. Rogers: did not answer

A'shia Howard: did not answer

7. Do you support reducing the budget and police force size of the Metropolitan Police Department and reinvesting those dollars in non-police solutions to public safety? Please elaborate on your position in your response.

Q.Do you support reducing the budget and police force size of the Metropolitan Police Department and reinvesting those dollars in non-police solutions to public safety? Please elaborate on your position in your response.
A.

Calvin Gurley: Mayor Adrian Fenty proposed in his budget to defund the MPD and Chairman Vincent Gray sought to stop his attempt. So, this has been attempted before. Currently, the MPD has approximately 2700 officers to services a city of 780,000 citizens - a decrease from 4,200 officers servicing 450,000 citizens during Chief Kathy Lanier's tour of duty. Even at the 4,200 officer for 450,000 citizens service level...this is deemed a serious risk factor per FBI standards.

  1. Yes, more investment by the Government must be made in education and the use of Vocational schools to make a change in the increase of crime.
  2. The D.C. Government must initially employ more D.C. residents to reduce the rate of crime in the city.
  3. The current generation of youth and adults in crime will be solved by the police and judicial system; however, the District Government must reach out to the young generation to divert their lives from repeating those criminal habits they see and are learned as the only way to live in a society.

Will Merrifield: Yes. In my work at the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, I’ve witnessed the experiences of people who are constantly facing displacement. These families are facing turbulence on all sides, from a militarized police force to broken systems for housing, health, and education that need real solutions instead of being continually patched up with spit and a prayer. I have big plans for reinvesting in communities, and the first place we can find that money is by diverting it from police.

Marcus Goodwin: We must reimagine policing and expand community resources to address homelessness, mental health, and addiction. However, I would not reduce the police budget at a time when gun violence and the DC murder rate are on pace to be the highest in over a decade. I have heard from many residents, especially seniors living in high violence areas, that defunding the police makes them feel less safe at a time when people are dying every week from violence. I will continue fighting for real changes in policing, such as banning chokeholds, demilitarizing the MPD, and increasing transparency measures such as the recent body camera law passed by the Council.

Jeanné Lewis: Yes, I support reducing the budget and police force size of the MPD and reinvesting that money into community resources. Crime in the District needs to be looked at through a public health and community-focused approach. We need both immediate and long-term solutions. Often, we know and/or have solutions that work, but we need full implementation or expansion to see results. No Murders DC is a coalition of DC residents working to not just reduce homicides in the district, but create a murder-free city. In 2008, the DC government released “The District of Columbia’s Comprehensive Homicide Elimination Strategy Task Force Report.” It was compiled and written by community based organization representatives, individuals, and government agency representatives. The high rates of homicide in our city are the consequence of underlying and interrelated factors such as unemployment, poverty, marginalizing underserved populations, substance abuse and mental health problems, truancy, issues in our education and vocational training policies, family violence, decades of trauma, lack of support for returning citizens. To get to zero homicides, we must fix the broken systems that lead to violence. I strongly believe in the power and prioritization of prevention strategies in the face of violence. In the 2008 report, they concluded that “the strategy for elimination of homicide includes enhancement of programs and criminal justice response in eight areas: family strengthening, education and training, neighborhood and community care, mental health and substance abuse, community services, law enforcement, witness protection, and victim services.” My platform and vision for DC rests on these core ideas, providing a strong foundation of support within our communities, expanding mental health care and treatment, increasing opportunities for reentering citizens, and equitable development that gives DC residents the ability to flourish. In 2013, No Murders DC requested there be a task force created to update the 2008 Comprehensive Homicide Elimination Strategy Task Force Report. Due to their advocacy work, the Council passed the Law 22-4241 that created a task force comprising of 20 members from government agencies, nonprofits, businesses, educational institutions, victim services and social services organizations, religious organizations, mental and behavioral health organizations, organized labor, criminal justice reform organization, and advisory neighborhood commissions to develop a report on successful violence prevention and intervention strategies. The council needs to ensure completion of that report and follow its recommendations. In addition to preventative measures, I believe reform within our criminal justice system is needed as well as increased use of current initiatives that have been working. I would expand DC’s Cure the Streets Program. This program addresses violence as a disease, something that can be interrupted, treated, and stopped from spreading. It employs people that are credible within their community to help de-escalate violent situations. In other cities where this has been implemented, there has been a 20-60% reduction in shootings and killings. Additionally, the treatment of individuals that are involved in the criminal justice system needs to be addressed to reduce recidivism and further violence. The Alternatives to the Court Experience (ACE) Diversion Program aims to treat juvenile justice in a way that provides the best outcome for the entire community and young people. ACE coordinators evaluate individuals once they enter the program and use this evaluation to develop a customized program of services such as therapy, mentoring, tutoring, mental health treatment, school support, and recreation. Since the program began, 75% of the participants did not recidivate, 88% showed improved scores on a behavioral and mental health assessment, and 62% of the participants had improved school attendance. Beyond the juvenile justice system, I strongly support increasing the use of restorative justice programs, which have demonstrated results of better rehabilitation, lower recidivism rates, and lower costs.

Addison Sarter: Yes. As stated earlier, Black people need their own police force. I will fight to make sure money is allocated from MPD to fund our own Black police force. The funds should also go to after school and youth programs, affordable housing, and mental health resources for the community.

Alexander Padro: A small portion of the MPD budget should be reallocated to transfer responsibility for responding to a variety of types of calls for service that armed police officers are not trained for or best suited to respond to. Our residents expect a great deal from our police officers, and shifting the burden of addressing some types of calls for service would allow them to focus on addressing violent crime and other situations where police training and equipment are required. Examples of alternative first responders are social workers, mental health professionals, drug counselors, traffic control and school safety officers, and youth violence interruptors. Job training programs would also benefit from enhanced funding and have a positive impact on crime reduction. Another example of a program that has a positive impact on public safety is one of the programs that I am the most proud of having launched. In 2006, I helped start the Clean Team program, currently funded and managed by the Department of Small and Local Business Development. From its inception, the Clean Teams have hired and trained returning citizens almost exclusively, though former gang members have sometimes been hired. These men and women have been paid a living wage and given training in job and life skills that have allowed them to reintegrate with their families and transition to employment in the private sector and government agencies. They often relate how they are now responsible for improving the streets in a city that they once were ‘tearing down.’ Clean Team members maintain public space, sweeping sidewalks and curbs, collecting trash and recyclables for disposal, and serving as public safety ‘eyes and ears on the street.’ Clean Teams are currently active in nearly 30 neighborhoods citywide, but the program could be expanded further with additional funding.

Ann Wilcox: Yes, the police budget and police force should be reduced, with resources diverted to public health and non-police solutions. Mental health and behavioral resources; violence interruptors; elimination of school-based security and other solutions, would result in healthier communities. Having militarized police in communities does not prevent or deter crime, generally.

Franklin Garcia: As your Council member I will work to redirect and repurpose police funding, which will include enhancing social service programs and work toward ending poverty. We need to reimagine policing in our communities. A relation that needs to start with retraining our officers approach to community relations, and engagement without firearms. We currently have more officers than the national average per number of residents standards. As we reimagine policing and its reallocation of sources, we need to also muster the will to fully fund programs of affordable housing and education for all DC residents. We must attack the root cause of community violence and poverty.

Christina Henderson: If we are committed to dismantling mass incarceration and addressing the violence in our city, our investments must reflect that commitment. Right now, the DC budget is not balanced in that regard. For example, in FY20, DC will spend approximately $738 million for the operating budget of the Department of Corrections and MPD. Meanwhile, we won’t even spend a third of that on the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement (ONSE), jobs programs, and youth programs in the city. I want DC to shift from an overreliance on law enforcement response and take some of that funding to invest in community response to and prevention of violence. Why does 911 dispatch send MPD when someone is experiencing a mental health crisis as opposed to one of the crisis response teams from the Department of Behavioral Health? It’s very much a capacity and resources issue. Additionally, we must invest resources to address social conditions that lead to crime like lack of housing, limited access to jobs that pay a living wage, the need for community-based trauma services, and having safe places for young people to channel their energy. If we don’t, DC will stay on this continuous cycle of using law enforcement to address issues that ultimately stem from poverty.

Ed Lazere: Yes. An effort to get a few guns off the street left Deon Kay - a DC teenager - dead at the hands of MPD. This tragic and avoidable killing highlights why we need a new approach to public safety. DC has more police per capita than any major U.S. city, and it has not made us safer. I support the calls of Black and brown communities to move away from over-policing. As noted in my other answers to ACLU, I support taking a public health approach to public safety, with a focus on community investments and community-based mediation. I support shifting many current police functions to other agencies, such as the Department of Behavioral Health, allowing us to reduce our police force and limit it to dealing with incidents of imminent danger. I support taking police out of schools.

Mario Cristaldo: Yes, I will support such legislation.

Michangelo Scruggs: No I do not support de-funding the police. In some areas we need more law enforcement programs that work to keep citizens safe, and some areas need more law enforcement on the streets. The problem is not in the quantity of resources made available to law enforcement; the problem is the quality of officers we have and their commitment to uphold the public trust.

Mónica Palacio: Yes, we can begin with small reductions to decrease the reliability in police when it comes to solutions about public safety and start to quickly move into alternative crisis intervention programs. I propose starting by reforming the Community Response Team with the Department of Behavioral Health. I want to increase funding so that we have a larger presence of licensed clinicians to conduct assessment and make the proper referrals. I want to maximize what they are already doing, such as engaging with individuals with unmet needs to encourage treatment, connecting communities with employment, education and other essential services, and offer harm reduction options. Reforming this resource and utilizing them as first responders would greatly benefit our communities who are experiencing trauma, psychiatric emergencies, distress, substance abuse disorders and other mental health crises. I also support funding more programs that assists with day to day domestic violence cases that will ensure the safety of victims while holding domestic violence perpetrators accountable.

Robert White: Yes. I voted in favor of the recent budget cuts that decreased the Metropolitan Police Department’s budget by $15 million and shifted those funds into alternative public safety investments. This is the right direction for the District and our residents. We need to ensure the resources and services that will take the place of policing are put in place quickly.

Chander Jayaraman: As an elected ANC Commissioner and Vice Chair with relationships among Commissioners across the city, I convened them, along with the Deputy Police Chief, the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety, a representative of the NAACP DC chapter and others for a public Town Hall conversation about this very issue. What we found was a surprising level of agreement, in particular, on removing responsibilities from the police department and rethinking their role. Police should not be expected to be social workers or mental health professionals, for example. It’s not what they are best at, and it takes away from their core responsibilities. Often the best person to deal with a situation — a person with substance issues, a homeless person who is struggling, etc., is not a police officer. I support adding resources to agencies dealing with those issues, requiring them to expand their hours to meet the needs of people where they are, when they need it, and adjusting the police budget accordingly. Police should always have the tools they need to do their jobs effectively, and a clear understanding of what their role should be and shouldn’t be.

Vincent Orange: did not answer

Marya Pickering: did not answer

Markus Batchelor: did not answer

Claudia Barragan: did not answer

Keith Silver: did not answer

Joe Bishop-Henchman: did not answer

Kathy Henderson: did not answer

Eric M. Rogers: did not answer

A'shia Howard: did not answer

8. As governments respond to the COVID-19 crisis, one major concern is an increase in government powers to surveil and detain communities. Would you support legislation requiring District agencies to disclose and obtain approval from the D.C. Council for any surveillance technology they acquire or use to surveil District residents?

Q.As governments respond to the COVID-19 crisis, one major concern is an increase in government powers to surveil and detain communities. Would you support legislation requiring District agencies to disclose and obtain approval from the D.C. Council for any surveillance technology they acquire or use to surveil District residents?
A.

Calvin Gurley: Yes. It should be known and release to the public.

Will Merrifield: Absolutely. Secretly violating people’s rights in the name of “protecting them” is the slippery slope logic that saddle us with the Patriot Act. There is no reason that these policies shouldn’t be publicly debated or authorized without full, explicit, informed consent.

Marcus Goodwin: On January 31, 2020, the Brennan Center for Justice submitted a letter to the Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety of the Council of the District of Columbia. The letter urged the Council to hold a public roundtable regarding the state of surveillance in the District and to create an oversight process for District entities' use of surveillance tools. The clear course of action is to seek oversight for any citizen surveillance in the district for the sake of public trust.

Jeanné Lewis: Yes

Addison Sarter: Yes they should obtain approval from DC Council, but I do not support the surveillance aspect. Black people always end up being targeted and criminalized by these tactics.

Alexander Padro: Full transparency should be practiced related to any expansion of surveillance technology. Cameras should continue to be clearly labeled and warnings posted that surveillance technology is in use.

Ann Wilcox: Yes, there should be full disclosure of any surveillance technology used in DC. There is already an expansion of the home-security camera grants (where DC government helps homeowners to enhance home cameras). Along with the National Lawyers Guild, I signed onto a letter in March 2020 (at the start of quarantine), calling on MPD not to take advantage of quarantine to harass citizens on the street. Other surveillance, whether for law enforcement or public health purposes, should be fully disclosed.

Franklin Garcia: Yes.

Christina Henderson: As DC moves through the various “phases” toward fully reopening our economy, I do think there are valid concerns about the expansion of surveillance (tech-based or otherwise) in the name of public health. Just a few weeks ago, the Cook County Board of Commissioners in Illinois voted to force the disclosure of the addresses of every patient who has tested positive for COVID-19. As we have learned from other countries who have handled the spread of COVID-19 in a much better manner than the US, contract tracing and regular testing is going to key to ensuring that DC does not see major spikes in cases later this year. However, I believe it’s imperative that personally identifiable information of DC residents remain protected and that the information gained from public health officials is not shared with other government agencies unless justified. As an oversight manner and for purposes of intergovernmental coordination, I believe it’s important that Councilmembers are informed about any technologies that will be used as part of the District’s COVID response efforts going forward. At this point I do not think that legislation is necessary to accomplish this, but if for some reason the Executive is not forthright with the information, yes, I would support legislation requiring the disclosure. And I would also anticipate that those contracts would come before the Council for approval in the same manner as other substantial government contracts that come before the body for review.

Ed Lazere: Yes.

Mario Cristaldo: Yes, I will support such legislation.

Michangelo Scruggs: We need more surveillance cameras in all areas of the city so that we may do a better job in apprehending suspects of crimes. However, the camera feed should be captured by a centralized agency, who may then dispatch the officers to the right areas at the times the crimes are committed. The only time MPD or any other agency should be able to surveil individuals is when a court order has been issued to do so

Mónica Palacio: Yes, when there is lack of oversight and accountability, there is a high risk of civil and human rights violations. I believe that our local leaders should require agencies to disclose and obtain approval when using surveillance technology because it is currently turning neighborhoods into fishbowls that monitor people and specifically target communities that are already a target to enforcement agencies, such as Black and Brown communities, low-income communities, immigrant communities and LGBTQ communities.

Robert White: Yes. Council approval would serve as a transparency measure and check on any move by a sitting executive at the time

Chander Jayaraman: Yes

Vincent Orange: did not answer

Marya Pickering: did not answer

Markus Batchelor: did not answer

Claudia Barragan: did not answer

Keith Silver: did not answer

Joe Bishop-Henchman: did not answer

Kathy Henderson: did not answer

Eric M. Rogers: did not answer

A'shia Howard: did not answer

9. Do you support the creation of a new jail in D.C.? Why/Why not?

Q.Do you support the creation of a new jail in D.C.? Why/Why not?
A.

Calvin Gurley: A new jail...if only overcrowding conditions exist. However, the current DC Jail should not be closed for a new one. I grew up only three blocks from the D.C. Jail for which it is located in Area 13 - Ward 6. This is a developer's dream to closed that jail to expand development of high end housing. I am not against development but there is a strong over development of housing happening in the city that does not address or solve the affordable housing crisis.

Will Merrifield: Conditions inside the DC Jail have long been inhumane, but the proposal to build a new jail fundamentally ignores the cause of these conditions. Despite the fact that the DC Jail has had failing inspections for years, the Mayor has only approved a fraction of the required funding for repairs year after year. COVID-19 has made these dangerous conditions even more lethal than usual. Lawsuits filed by incarcerated residents compelled a judge to investigate conditions and intervene. This is a direct analogy to public housing - the intentional, official neglect of vulnerable residents creates dangerous conditions that could have been prevented. Furthermore, the creation of a new jail ignores the fact that the Mayor is expanding mass incarceration policies, increasing funding to the police department, and thwarting legislation that would decriminalize fare evasion. Yes, we need safer conditions for incarcerated residents, but I oppose the construction of a new jail until the District takes permanent action to reduce incarceration policies that overwhelmingly target Black residents and guarantees permanent funding for upkeep and humane conditions, including mental and physical healthcare and social contact with friends and family.

Marcus Goodwin: Yes, I would support the creation of a new jail within the bounds of reasons, perhaps other options such as modifying the current jail to meet a better standing should be put on the table. If it’s possible to successfully fund and build a new jail it should be considered as long as it doesn’t severely impede or undermine other critical items in the budget.

Jeanné Lewis: No. Although we need to improve conditions in the jail in the short term, we should be working to reducing the number of incarcerated people in DC. This is difficult because of federal oversight in sentencing, but as a council we need to partner with national organizations fighting for federal sentencing reform and use our local authority to divert as many people as possible from the court system by offering alternatives to prevents and reduce crime while reducing incarceration.

Addison Sarter: No. Jail and prison have morphed into modern day slavery. I believe creating a new jail is taking part in slavery.

Alexander Padro: Yes, I would support the construction of a new municipal corrections facility. The distribution of our jail population throughout the federal corrections system is unjust and unconscionable. The conditions at the DC Jail are very troubling. The impact of remote incarceration on families has a transgenerational impact that contributes to family instability and poor educational and life outcomes.

Ann Wilcox: I am not in favor of jails or prisons, in general. We do need more modern facilities for necessary pretrial detention and other purposes. In addition, I strongly believe that DC inmates who have received longer sentences, should be incarcerated within 50 miles of DC - so they can have regular contact with their families and children. In general, prisoners should remain tied to their communities, as much as possible, in order to ease positive reentry.

Franklin Garcia: Not an additional detention center, rather a renovated or replacement detention facility. One that is modernized and provides for rehab with a pathway to wrap-around services for the detained from an early stage. A state of the arts facility able to provide an immediate reintegration system that is dignified and can enable detainees with opportunities for work-training, housing and health-care upon release.

Christina Henderson: When I think of all of DC’s critical public infrastructure needs – from roadways to schools to new hospitals to expanded broadband – I do not believe the creation of a new jail should be a priority. I believe we need to reduce our jail and prison population, and funding spent on a new jail would be better invested in initiatives that strengthens our communities and invests in our residents.

Ed Lazere: The current jail is too large, in terrible physical condition, and not designed to provide a supportive environment to detained residents. The outbreak of COVID-19 at DC Jail helps confirm that it is not a safely designed facility. I support replacing the jail with a much smaller secure detention facility that serves detained residents in a humane way and that is focused on rehabilitative services (counseling/mental health, education and training). This should be combined with policies to limit incarceration, discussed below. I support the recommendations of the Phase I report of the Jails and Justice Task Force with respect to the design of a new facility:

  • It should be built to support physical and mental health, education and training, counseling, and exercise and recreation.
  • It’s housing should cluster incarcerated individuals in small groups, and addresses needs by age, disability status, LGBTQ status, etc.
  • It should be built to support appropriate programming to support restorative justice and rehabilitation.

Mario Cristaldo: Last year the DC Auditor released a report detailing deterioration, unsanitary and unsafe conditions inside DC Jail (our local correctional facility for temporary and short-term male multi-custody level facility). We need to be proactive in finding short- and long-term solutions for this issue. In the short-term, I believe the DC government should provide the necessary funds to DC Jail for the most urgent repairs and maintenance, so the facility can continue to operate in sanitary and safe conditions and without any violations of the DC Building Codes. The mid and long-term solution is to build a brand-new facility under the control of the DC government. The Bowser Administration should immediately begin a study for the construction of a new facility from the DC Office of Planning. DC residents, advocates and other stakeholders must also get involved in this process

Michangelo Scruggs: Yes, I do, for this simple reason. The DC jail is old, and just like United Medical Center, needs to be demolished, and a new up-to-date, adequate facility needs to be built to replace it. We have the fiduciary responsibility to ensure that, even when incarcerated, our citizens are not in dilapidated facilities where placement would be inhumane.

Mónica Palacio: No. We are currently facing a national emergency that has left low-income and marginalized communities increasingly struggling for housing, employment and food. Systemic racism is the cause of 89% of people in D.C. jails being Black and/or Brown. Making an investment in a new jail in the District will be making an investment in mass incarceration of some of the most vulnerable District residents. Right now and for the next few years, District leaders must focus on providing residents with access to health services, access to the proper tools for virtual learning, food assistance, funding for rent and mortgage payments to prevent evictions and grants for small businesses to be able to remain open.

Robert White: The most important thing we can do is support successful alternatives to incarceration and rehabilitation and stabilization for incarcerated residents. If we achieve statehood, we will have to build and operate a prison in the District. It comes with being a state. I’ve introduced and passed significant legislation to ease the way home for our incarcerated residents that are scattered all over the country in other state prisons. A prison in DC will have to be focused on rehabilitation and successful reentry into our city with educational programs, job training, therapy, and family reunification. This is a re-imagining of the traditional incarceration model that dominates our country.

Chander Jayaraman: Yes, I support the creation of a new jail because the conditions at the current jail are inhumane. There is mold, leaky rooftops, and rodents. It is no place for any human being. The current jail should be closed immediately upon a rapid construction of the new jail. Any new jail facility must have options for people serving time to get educated and vocational training. I have a proposal for the creation of an Individual Release Plan (IRP), which would work similarly to an IEP for students in school — listing the educational and training goals and offerings that individual wish to take advantage of while serving their time, as well as the actions they commit to completing and the supports they will need to succeed. Individuals sentenced to non-violent crimes should be eligible for a reduced sentence if they complete these requirements sooner than their sentence.

Vincent Orange: did not answer

Marya Pickering: did not answer

Markus Batchelor: did not answer

Claudia Barragan: did not answer

Keith Silver: did not answer

Joe Bishop-Henchman: did not answer

Kathy Henderson: did not answer

Eric M. Rogers: did not answer

A'shia Howard: did not answer

10. How would you prioritize investments in community resources and alternatives to incarceration to shrink the jail population against the need to ensure that the jail is safe and rehabilitative?

Q.How would you prioritize investments in community resources and alternatives to incarceration to shrink the jail population against the need to ensure that the jail is safe and rehabilitative?
A.

Calvin Gurley: To shrink the jail population is simple. The District must invest in its children...meaning an investment in schools, extracurricular activities for youth and job training that leads to employment. Decent and competitive education for all children in the District.

Will Merrifield: First of all, the fastest, cheapest, and most effective way to shrink the incarcerated population is to stop putting so many people in jail and to release those who do not pose a threat to public safety. I would support the legalization of marijuana, and move to decriminalize low-level offenses that do not pose a threat to public safety. I would also eliminate Stop and Frisk, which definitionally increases police interaction with the public and provides opportunities for system involvement. These steps would actually save public resources. With regards to prioritizing resources, finding money to provide better alternatives to punitive, damaging incarceration, at the end of the day, is about political will. It is an indisputable fact that our government routinely gives away hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies and free land to developers - and spent $1B dollars to build a baseball stadium - while simultaneously forcing vulnerable DC families to live in deeply unsafe public housing and subjecting incarcerated residents to dangerous jail conditions. The shameful conditions inside DC detention facilities are part of DC’s larger tendency to starve vulnerable communities of resources. I would use my connections with grassroots organizers to apply pressure that will redirect resources so that public money is used for the public good. The core of my campaign is an infrastructure project that would create a jobs program building thousands of units of publicly owned, permanently affordable Social Housing. Good jobs and a lower cost of living will inject resources back into communities, strengthening the social fabric and creating new pathways for sustainable living, especially for returning citizens who typically have few options. Inside of detention facilities, I would fight for excellent mental and physical health care, jobs programs, and opportunities to create bridges between incarcerated residents and those outside to ease the transition back into society.

Marcus Goodwin: There should be more emphasis on community resources and alternatives to incarceration. There are a lot of creative alternatives to traditional incarceration such as nonprofit organizations for job training and adult education. We also need to ensure that we are guiding our jail population in meditative and spiritual practices that will help transform their life for the better upon their release.

Jeanné Lewis: DC currently has a higher incarceration rate than any US state. With this knowledge, ensuring jail is safe and rehabilitative is more crucial than ever, so citizens do not recidivate after release. This includes mental health care and job training while incarcerated. Decarceration must start within the system because of the place we are at right now. However, this strategy must run concurrently with strategies outside of the justice system, to steer people away from getting involved. This would include expanding the Cure the Streets program, building police-community relations, and greater use of diversion courts.

Addison Sarter: As we know, there has been a recent movement to “Defund” the police. I would reallocate millions from MPD to reparations, housing, mental health facilities/ clinics, job training and youth programs. I would also fight to increase rehabilitative programs within jails such as trade skills, entrepreneurship classes, and therapy. I would also put an end to that STUPID and POINTLESS H st street car, which is a waste of 35 million dollars. That 35 million dollars would be reallocated back to the community as well. As mentioned earlier I will fight for Black people to have our own police force.

Alexander Padro: Early release, expanded use of halfway houses and the expansion of genuine job training and employment programs, like the Clean & Safe Teams I helped to develop, which are now active in over 30 DC neighborhoods, would be alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent offenders, while new correctional facilities and rehabilitation programs are developed.

Ann Wilcox: There should be extensive community confinement/halfway house options for persons who are under supervision. However, education, job training and other opportunities can help lessen the numbers of persons who are involved with the criminal justice system. The DC Jail must have effective education and personal development opportunities, especially for young people.

Franklin Garcia: Recently, during the current COVID-19 pandemic, multiple jurisdictions across our nation have put to practice alternatives to incarceration. Studies have shown that DOC inmates, staff, and facilities maintenance are more than ten times as likely to contract this deadly virus. Thus, I believe any time we have an opportunity to reduce the prison population, and allow non-violent offenders--often men and women of color--and those who have served most of their sentence a chance to reintegrate to society, we should give it genuine consideration. And, again, here the renovation or replacement of our current detention facility with one that will provide state-of-the-art rehab and wrap-around services for detainees from an early stage. A facility able to provide an immediate reintegration system for inmates that is dignified and can enable them with opportunities for work-training, housing and health-care upon release.

Christina Henderson: I have a number of friends who have served as public defenders in various jurisdictions, and they often lament that there is never a waiting list for jail, only for diversion programs and alternatives to jail. Knowing our nation’s history, it’s hard not to consider that this is by design. If we are committed to reducing our jail population and dismantling mass incarceration, our investments must reflect that commitment. Right now, the DC budget is not balanced in that regard. For example, in FY20, DC will spend approximately $738 million for the operating budget of the Department of Corrections and MPD. Meanwhile, we won’t even spend a third of that on the Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement, jobs programs, and youth programs in the city. We have to shift from an overreliance on law enforcement to reduce crime and address the social conditions that lead to crime. As a Councilmember, I would be looking to increase funding for community resources and alternatives to incarceration. Yes, while we are in the process of reducing the prison population through changes to the criminal code and sentencing reforms, we should ensure that the jail is safe and provides services to help individuals who are currently serving, but if we do not take seriously the need to invest in alternatives we will be facing an endless uphill battle.

Ed Lazere: As noted above, I agree with the recommendations of the Phase 1 report of the Jail task force that the primary focus needs to be on preventing crime through community investments. This would work to reduce mass incarceration and allow DC to operate a much smaller facility that is more focused on rehabilitation. This is not an either/or proposition. As a Council member, I would support both. Incarceration is expensive, so reducing incarceration and developing a smaller secure detention facility should generate some operational savings that can be used to support the expanded services needed at the new facility. Investments in communities and alternatives to incarceration will, over time, create healthier communities, with children who have greater academic success, parents who are more connected to stable employment, and other benefits. It is possible that the long-term savings would outweigh the costs, just as the permanent supportive housing program for people experiencing chronic homelessness is less expensive than the myriad emergency services unhoused people require.

Mario Cristaldo: Yes I will prioritize investment in community resources and other alternatives to incarceration and also to ensure that our jail is safe and focuses on rehabilitating incarcerated individuals. We need to recreate the concept of incarceration to make them real rehabilitation centers for when incarcerated individuals have completed their sentences and reinsert them in our communities. Better investment in our distress communities and more funding to local community based organizations must be part of the equation for deterring any type of crimes in our communities in DC. Also our DC court system has some alternatives to incarceration that need to be enhanced or implemented. Those alternatives are mainly in the cases of misdemeanors and infractions. Felons also be required community hours for them after they had completed their prison time and are returning to our communities.

Michangelo Scruggs: I believe in second-chance programs throughout the community, as an alternative to incarceration, that offer a real rehabilitation effort, depending on the severity of the crime. These programs would be "camps" where life skills may be taught, literacy programs are offered, and where upon completion inmates may reacclimate into society with job opportunities, housing opportunities, and entrepreneurial opportunities.

Mónica Palacio: We must do both. I believe we must take a public health approach that invests in education, workforce development, housing and that helps young people and adults who have been involved with the criminal justice systems or are at highrisk of contact with such systems. I also support shifting investments so DC can offer more rehabilitation programs versus punitive ones. While some still debate the issue, I believe we must invest in alternatives to incarceration. There are successful examples of such programs such as youth diversion programs and drug courts.

Robert White: If we want to see a reduction in crime, we have to invest in our community and in the jail’s conditions and programming. As we invest in stable housing, getting our residents into careers, stronger public schools, and mental health treatment, we will see some reduction in crime and will break generational cycles. However, the investments we are making in our community right now are just the beginning of confronting hundreds of years of structural racism, so for those whom we do not reach before they commit a crime, we need to do our best to ensure that we rehabilitate them and provide educational and career training in jail so that when they return home, they are less inclined to commit a crime.

Chander Jayaraman: We must invest in the solutions above — a new jail, education and training and a program of goal-setting by inmates and support for them. We should also increase use of the restorative justice programs as an alternative to incarceration of violent crimes.

Vincent Orange: did not answer

Marya Pickering: did not answer

Markus Batchelor: did not answer

Claudia Barragan: did not answer

Keith Silver: did not answer

Joe Bishop-Henchman: did not answer

Kathy Henderson: did not answer

Eric M. Rogers: did not answer

A'shia Howard: did not answer

11. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, D.C. and other governments have implemented reforms like early release of incarcerated individuals, and expanded use of home confinement as an alternative to incarceration. Do you support these measures and do you believe they should be made permanent past the state of emergency?

Q.In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, D.C. and other governments have implemented reforms like early release of incarcerated individuals, and expanded use of home confinement as an alternative to incarceration. Do you support these measures and do you believe they should be made permanent past the state of emergency?
A.

Calvin Gurley: I support the current release of incarcerated individuals to home confinement. However, the judicial system policies should come back in place after the pandemic.

Will Merrifield: In the immediate term, DC must decarcerate all detention facilities. We are the only campaign in the At-Large race with a policy calling for the decarceration of DC’s jails and youth detention centers in response to COVID-19. Our policy includes COVID-19 testing for 100% of incarcerated people and requires the creation of comprehensive, individualized release plans for all freed people that ensure safe housing and access to necessities, such as food, clothing, hygiene products, communication access, and any needed support services. Our policy also calls for increased transparency about conditions inside of detention facilities. The pandemic has uncovered my long standing issues, such as conditions inside of the DC jail. Clear and transparent accountability, including the release of videos recorded during the recent court-ordered surprise audit, should be released as a matter of course. These changes should absolutely be permanent - it shouldn’t require a pandemic for us to release people who are not a threat to public safety and to hold officials accountable for failing to maintain safe, humane conditions.

Marcus Goodwin: Yes, all things considered if there is not much time left on a sentence or if it’s a minor offense, I would strongly support shortening a term of incarceration and releasing our returned citizens either entirely or to probation.

Jeanné Lewis: Yes, I support these measures believe they should be made be permanent past the state of emergency. This will help reduce our prison population and save tax dollars.

Addison Sarter: Yes.

Alexander Padro: Yes, I am in favor of the measures being utilized during the coronavirus crisis and believe that for certain types of crimes, primarily nonviolent crimes, early release and home confinement could continue to be practiced post pandemic.

Ann Wilcox: Yes, the jail population should be reduced as much as practical. The US incarcerates a much higher percentage of its citizens than other industrialized countries, and we must reduce those numbers. Youth offenders must be given alternatives to incarceration, and all sentences should be shortened where possible.

Franklin Garcia: Yes. I believe that the district’s recent rulings to improve health and sanitation of our corrections facilities is a must. Studies have shown that DOC inmates, staff, and facilities maintenance are more than ten times as likely to contract this deadly virus. I believe any time we can have a chance to reduce the prison population, and allow nonviolent offenders, often men and women of color, a second chance at reentering society, we should give it real consideration.

Christina Henderson: I do support these measures and I do believe that they should be made permanent beyond the current state of emergency. After years of activists, advocates, and progressive policymakers facing roadblocks while trying to dismantle mass incarceration in the United States and reduce the prison population, it is fascinating how this global pandemic has shown not only what is politically possible, but how quickly reforms can be implemented. We know that cramming people into facilities where they share everything from small cells to showers, but have minimal cleaning supplies, lack protective equipment, and receive substandard medical care is a public health risk. It’s always been a public health risk. Why would we return to that when we have options for alternatives to incarceration? For long-term research and policy purposes, I do think that DC government should track the outcomes of the individuals who were released as a result of the COVID-19 Emergency legislation. I believe that data will be valuable if the Council moves to make these efforts permanent.

Ed Lazere: Yes.

Mario Cristaldo: Yes, I do support these measures. We must reincorporate our incarcerated citizens into our society as soon as they have paid to society for their crimes and are ready for reinsertion. Community resources must be in place for helping returning citizens into our communities at the same time.

Michangelo Scruggs: I believe that this was the appropriate measures to initiative during COVID-19. I don't believe this is a permanent alternative to incarceration. It sends the message that incarceration or the threat thereof is not a deterrent to the commission of more crimes.

Mónica Palacio: Yes, I support early release and the option of home confinement. We must be vigilant that DC residents are placed in prisons throughout the U.S. and that many are at risk for exposure to COVID. We do not want them placed in solitary confinement using the excuse that this is the only way to prevent the spread in the prison environment. In terms of continuing these measures beyond the state of emergency, I would consider doing so.

Robert White: Yes. I voted in favor of expanding good time credits to release vulnerable residents from the jail. COVID-19 has revealed many of the barriers to reforming institutions were purely bureaucratic, or in many cases systemic racism. It is incumbent upon us to proceed differently. We can and should move away from a system built on punishment and focus on rehabilitation.

Chander Jayaraman: Probably. We need to track what has happened as a result of early releases to see if released inmates are more or less or just as likely to make advances or return to criminal activity. If these show little negative outcomes, let’s make them permanent.

Vincent Orange: did not answer

Marya Pickering: did not answer

Markus Batchelor: did not answer

Claudia Barragan: did not answer

Keith Silver: did not answer

Joe Bishop-Henchman: did not answer

Kathy Henderson: did not answer

Eric M. Rogers: did not answer

A'shia Howard: did not answer

12. Do you support the "Community Safety and Health Amendment Act of 2019" which would remove criminal penalties for consensual sex work among adults in the District and create a task force to study the effects of the law and make further recommendations for further public health interventions? Why or why not?

Q.Do you support the "Community Safety and Health Amendment Act of 2019" which would remove criminal penalties for consensual sex work among adults in the District and create a task force to study the effects of the law and make further recommendations for further public health interventions? Why or why not?
A.

Calvin Gurley: I must review and study this issue more intensely before I can make a sound decision on the subject. I must know the police reports on this issue and evaluate the courts decisions on this subject. I am not aware of any prejudice or injustice in this area of consensual sex work.

Will Merrifield: Yes, government efforts should be focused on protecting the safety and health of sex workers and on prosecuting traffickers and others that violate people’s bodily autonomy.

Marcus Goodwin: No, I am not a proactive supporter of these provisions, however I do believe enforcement of criminal penalties should not be a priority. My reservations are due to the human trafficking problems DC has experienced. I have read in many places that for legalizing sex work would bolster the sex trafficking black market. I would, however, focus policing on Johns rather than sex workers. I think we need to find long-term, safe careers for sex workers.

Jeanné Lewis: Although I support de-criminalization of sex work, I have several concerns about the Community Safety and Health Amendment Act of 2019. I would amend this legislation to further strengthen enforcement of sex trafficking of minors and non-consenting adults.  This issue is more complex than we often give it credit for. Criminalization alone is not enough. We need a more comprehensive approach that addressing police harassment, employment and housing discrimination, and health and housing challenges that disproportionately burden sex workers.  It is not enough to lave these issues to a task force for further study.  I believe a strong de-criminalization bill must include stronger anti-sex trafficking provisions and more comprehensive policy changes within the primary legislation.

Addison Sarter: Yes I do. Poverty pushes many women to get involved in sex work the same way poverty pushes many men to get into selling drugs. Poverty should not be criminalized.

Alexander Padro: It is a little known fact that sex work was legal in the District of Columbia during parts of the 19th Century. I am in support of full legalization, regulation and taxation of sex work. I would not support decriminalization of sex work without the imposition of licensing, health standards and taxation.

Ann Wilcox: In general, I support decriminalization of sex work, in order to increase health, safety and opportunity for sex workers. This is also the position of the DC Statehood Green Party.

Franklin Garcia: Yes, I support the Community Safety and Health Amendment Act of 2019. DC is a progressive city, and this is a law that should have been in the books a long time ago. The recognition of sex workers, something that exists in every community, will protect those workers, and make it safer for them.

Christina Henderson: I support the Community Safety and Health Amendment Act of 2019 and efforts to remove criminal penalties related to consensual sex work. I view this as an issue of safety, dignity, and human rights. The hearing on this legislation provided an opportunity for us all to hear from sex workers—a group who has been traditionally marginalized by our government—about the very real harm that criminalization causes, especially to trans women and women of color who engage in sex work. Decriminalizing consensual adult behavior will empower individuals in this industry to report instances of crime and violence committed against them, work with law enforcement when there is suspected coercion and trafficking, and to negotiate safer sex practices, which is a public health issue. It is important that we do not conflate sex work with sex trafficking, which happened often during the debate of this legislation. It is absolutely necessary that we protect children and adults from exploitation, and the Community Safety and Health Amendment Act does maintain the strict prohibition against coercion, force, and sex trafficking of minors and adults. I will always fight for justice for survivors of trafficking and assault. I will also fight for those who have been unjustly overpoliced and over-criminalized. Black and brown women, especially Black and brown trans women, historically have been disproportionately targeted by police, particularly under the guise of fighting commercial sex. I believe we need to ensure their safety and that means limiting their interactions with the police by decriminalizing sex work and alleviating the structural inequities like housing and employment discrimination that often makes sex work the only form of work available to this community. Too often we have seen that police themselves perpetrate violence against sex workers or fail to take assault and rape of sex workers seriously. Even without the passage of this bill, I believe that MPD should immediately cease sex work-related stings and divert those resources to investigate suspected cases of trafficking and supports outside of MPD for victims of violence while involved in sex work.

Ed Lazere: Yes. Whether someone engages in sex work as a choice or because society has given them little other choice, sex work is work: something someone does to make a living. Criminalizing sex work does not stop it, and in fact further victimizes and puts at risk those engaged in survival sex, a disproportionate share of whom in DC are trans women of color. I support decriminalization of sex work between consenting adults, although I’m aware of the deep controversy over whether this should apply only to sale of sex, rather than both the sale and purchase, with those opposed to decriminalizing the purchase being concerned that it would lead to sex trafficking. In the end, I will support a policy that I believe will keep sex workers safest, and I will listen to sex workers themselves to decide. Given the strong support in the sex worker community for full decrminalization, that is what I support. Beyond decriminalization, more proactive work is needed to stop police harassment and violence, including the targeting of sex workers for minor offenses, such as disorderly conduct. The police should instead be trained and required to work to protect the safety of this work, which can be very dangerous. And the District can do more to address the housing, employment and health needs of sex workers in a targeted way, in recognition of their marginalization, including addressing discrimination and creating services tailored to meet the unique needs of sex workers.

Mario Cristaldo: Yes, I will support it. I stand with community groups that last year came out to testify in favor of decriminalizing consensual sex work among adults in the District of Columbia. It is well known that there are members of the Council and some Council candidates for the November 2020, who are not interested in entertaining any type of discussions on this matter but I do not think that the right approach. I agree with those who think that this issue needs to be taken from the perspective of health, safety, and human rights. A Task Force to help in the implementation and monitoring process of the Act can be very valuable.

Michangelo Scruggs: I do not support this act because it doesn't keep those who are forced into human trafficking here in DC safe. That's a priority for me. Should this act pass, de-criminalizing sex work would be a de-facto "legalization" in the eyes of the law and government, which means that ultimately the wages will be taxed and sex workers would become like other workers who either receive 1099s or have to otherwise declare their income. Additionally, because we are under Home Rule , even if the District did approve this act, the likelihood is that Congress would reject the approval.

Mónica Palacio: Yes, I support ending environments in which sex workers are put at risk of being harassed, physically and verbally abused or of extort bribes by attackers due to stigmatization and lack of help from the police. However, we must also provide the necessary support and rehabilitative services and infrastructure so that the sex workers truly have a choice whether or not to engage in sex work. We can and must provide transitional housing, access to healthcare and other safety nets. I also support this act because data shows that immigrants, transgender people and Black individuals are more likely to be sex workers, which puts them at an even higher risk of police and client abuse and harassment, incarceration and lack of health care services. I want to break down these barriers and provide sex workers the same legal protections as any other individuals.

Robert White: I co-introduced the Community Safety and Health Amendment Act. I have been publically vocal about the need to address the violence and lack of resources that sex workers face. We know that many engaging in sex work as a form of survival, and it stems from overt discrimination in the job and housing markets, particularly against trans women. At the hearing on this bill last October, many residents were concerned that the Council was not considering the public safety of all groups. Many former sex workers also raised some precautions about the safety of the sex workers that we have to examine as this bill moves forward, so yes, I would support the creation of a task force to make further recommendations.

Chander Jayaraman: No. I believe that the legislation as written goes way to far. I have grave concerns that if the District adopts legislation that legalizes sex work, sex trafficking will increase and become even harder to combat. Our city government has not demonstrated that it has the proper infrastructure in place to protect exploited children, women, and men recruited involuntarilty into sex work. Any legislation on this topic must address these questions: Would the law make it easier for those who would exploit and control individuals involved in the sex trade? Would it lessen protections for and the ability of victims to pursue criminal charges? Would it undermine prosecution of traffickers? I am also deeply troubled about the economic hardships being experienced by DC residents to a degree that any DC resident would have no other choice than to engage in paid sexual activity in order to eat, live, and survive. That is why I am focusing on ensuring economic opportunities for all DC residents as one of my top policy priorities in this election — lack of economic independence and security is a root cause of so many of the tragedies and ills that affect people and communities.

Vincent Orange: did not answer

Marya Pickering: did not answer

Markus Batchelor: did not answer

Claudia Barragan: did not answer

Keith Silver: did not answer

Joe Bishop-Henchman: did not answer

Kathy Henderson: did not answer

Eric M. Rogers: did not answer

A'shia Howard: did not answer

13. When compared to states, D.C. has the fourth highest incarceration rate in the United States, and the overwhelming majority of those incarcerated are Black and Brown. While D.C. does not have full control over its criminal justice system, it does have control over its criminal code and other laws enforced by police. As a Councilmember, what legislative measures would you pursue to reduce the incarceration of Black and Brown residents in the District?

Q.When compared to states, D.C. has the fourth highest incarceration rate in the United States, and the overwhelming majority of those incarcerated are Black and Brown. While D.C. does not have full control over its criminal justice system, it does have control over its criminal code and other laws enforced by police. As a Councilmember, what legislative measures would you pursue to reduce the incarceration of Black and Brown residents in the District?
A.

Calvin Gurley: Without the knowledge that the ACLU has on this subject, I can quickly state that the issue is not to reduce the incarceration of Black and Brown residents - but to assess if the law is fair and is being used fairly in ever case that involves every citizen of the District of Columbia.

Will Merrifield: As outlined in Question 9, I would legalize marijuana (which is sold and used at equal rates by Black and white people but overwhelmingly is used to incarcerate Black people), and move to decriminalize low-level offenses that do not pose a threat to public safety. I would also eliminate Stop and Frisk, which is a racist policy that definitionally increases police interaction, disproportionately targeting Black and Brown people and creating increased opportunities for system involvement. Finally, I would work to eliminate racist sentencing disparities which put Black and Brown people away for longer then white people for the same offenses. My perspective is informed by the organizers I have worked alongside for the last eight years. Having worked for the better part of a decade as a Tenant Association attorney in Wards 5, 7 and 8, I have deep connections to communities such as Brookland Manor that have been marginalized and experienced a rash of preventable violence. I have seen firsthand the militarized policing tactics used to terrorize Black and immigrant communities and have watched politicians and developers demonize our most vulnerable citizens in order to justify demolishing their homes and displacing them. It’s not a coincidence that DC has extremely high rates of both incarceration and homelesses for Black residents. What’s happening to these communities isn’t a secret, but their stories are co-opted or ignored by incumbent leaders who are either disconnected from what’s happening on the ground or bent on using police tactics to forcibly remove people from this city. I will work to organize community power so that people from affected communities have a seat at the table and a say over how they can protect themselves and their communities from the corrupt criminal justice system.

Marcus Goodwin: The criminal code should be constantly reviewed and revised so they are kept clear and consistent. A few legislative measures we could take are:

  • Police racial bias and sensitivity training
  • Taking control of our parole officers from the Federal government
  • Addressing the underlying causes of crime
  • Ensuring that our police are focused on the ‘Serve’ portion of ‘Protect and Serve’ by emphasizing their role of being positive forces in communities

Jeanné Lewis: There are many already-tested and successful models across the country that can be used here in DC to reduce recidivism, as well as incarceration rates in general. One I am particularly impressed with is Miami’s Criminal Mental Health Project, which pairs specialized training of police on more effective protocols when responding to calls that involve a mental health crisis with the use of diversion courts that serve to decriminalize mental illness and link those needing them with community support and treatment. This model has proven successful--with one study finding a recidivism of only 20 percent among program participants (compared to 75 percent among those not in the program). Any individual that is involved in the criminal justice system that lives with a mental health challenge or substance use disease should be looked at through a public health lens, rather than a punitive lens. We need to expand our use of mental health, drug, and diversion courts to lower our incarceration rates.

Addison Sarter: As stated earlier, “Black Independence” is the solution for the issues Black people face in America. It is our right as indigenous tribes to have our own criminal justice system and police department. I will advocate for Brown residents to do the same and start their own community police force.

Alexander Padro: Sentencing reform should be utilized in order to ensure that people of color are not treated differently within the criminal justice system. Combined with the full legalization, regulation and taxation of sex work and cannabis, sentencing reduction would reduce the incarceration rate for people of color and help create equity in the criminal justice system.

Ann Wilcox: Steps were taken over the past few years to encourage resentencing of youth offenders (Second Look Amendment), expanding the application of the Youth Sentencing Act. However, this should go further: some young inmates applying for early release were denied, due to disciplinary infractions on their prison record (however, this is very common among inmates). Leniency in sentencing is absolutely critical, as we seek to reduce the mass incarceration of black and brown communities.

Franklin Garcia: It is no surprise that I am an advocate for D.C statehood, which would give the district more control over our criminal justice system. Start with the current incarcerated population, and pursue legislation that will put people out of prison, with minor crimes, and those who’s sentencing is near the end provided the inmate commits to some conditions. I would also work to decriminalize small offences that put people in prison (particularly those related to drug charges).

Christina Henderson: It took decades for DC to build the punitive criminal justice system we live with today, and unfortunately, it is going to take time for us to dismantle it as well. The Council has passed a number of bills that look back to review the sentencing of those who are incarcerated, but if we are really to reduce the number of black and brown residents going to jail we have to make reforms to the DC Criminal Code. In 2016, the Council established the DC Criminal Code Reform Commission which is tasked with submitting comprehensive criminal code reform recommendations. Right now, the Commission is to deliver their report by October 1, 2020 and given the timing, its likely that their recommendations will not be fully considered until next Council Period. From what I have seen from the Commission’s draft recommendations, their work is steeped in research, statistics, and even considers public opinion. Therefore, as a Councilmember, I would be looking to the Commission’s recommendations as a roadmap for legislative measures to pursue. I think there will be some provisions that have strong consensus like decriminalizing the possession of self-defense spray and the personal possession of certain drug paraphernalia and expanding the right to jury. But there will be some provisions that will require work and I am committed to supporting and putting forward legislative proposals that aim to reduce incarceration.

Ed Lazere: As a Council member, I would work to limit incarceration to individuals who pose an imminent risk of violence that cannot be mitigated with community-level services. To get there, I would support:

  • Modifying sentencing laws to eliminate mandatory minimums 
  • Expanding the use of citation and release for selected offenses instead of misdemeanor arrest
  • Adopting the latest amendment to the Second Look Act to allow people to seek sentence reductions for crimes committed before age 25 and to allow such requests to be made after 15 years.
  • Expanding good time release for good behavior for all incarcerated people in both jail and prison, closing loopholes that leave some people ineligible.
  • Making permanent the COVID-related compassionate release policies.
  • Adding earned time credit bonuses for incarcerated persons participating in educational or other programming.

Mario Cristaldo: I pledge to work with DC agencies, DC City Councilmembers and other stakeholders toward investing in comprehensive public safety solutions as a preventive measure for incarcerating DC residents in the District of Columbia. We must stop criminalizing our DC residents including our residents in distress areas and making us part of a business enterprise incarcerating our residents. That is not a just system.

Michangelo Scruggs: I would look at the criminal code and compare the severity of crime with other jurisdictions to determine whether any particular penalty, such as incarceration, is appropriate for the crime committed. Also I would ensure that we are not profiling communities, where we make it more likely for those in the African American and Hispanic communities to be incarcerated for a crime. It also opens the door for more residents of these communities to be harassed and provoked, and falsely imprisoned

Mónica Palacio: The system has failed Black and Brown communities for far too long. Chronic poverty and chronic violence is a result of institutional racism and the brutal “war on drugs” that targets Black and Brown people. I propose decriminalizing marijuana and sex work as the first two steps to ensuring that the system is not targeting communities of color and transgender people. I support bills that will decrease the involvement of police when dealing with individuals who are facing mental health crises. I will continue funding programs that get guns out of our streets while promoting for communities to get involved in this process without fear of retaliation. And lastly, I will fund diversion programs that will bring employment training, treatment for individuals dealing with substance abuse and youth advocate programs to prevent future criminal activity.

Robert White: As I have discussed above, we have to reduce the significant number of non-public safety issues that we currently use police to respond to. We also have to re-focus our public safety approach to stabilizing housing, prioritizing career placement, and treating trauma. This will significantly reduce our high and racially imbalanced incarceration rate. Additionally, we can reduce the incarceration of Black and Brown residents by addressing the biases within policing. Our high incarceration rate partially stems from the same reason that we see young Black men and women shot by officers, while mass shooters who are white, have the privilege of due process.

Chander Jayaraman: Previously in my career working with at-risk youth and young adults in the juvenile justice system, I would write letters to judges begging them to send them to me and give them a chance/opportunity to take a different path by offering them educational support and vocational training. This should be the first option for all youth and young adults, as well as adults who have only had a handful of minor offenses. This is why I am so passionate about my idea of the creation of an Individual Release Plan as an option.

Vincent Orange: did not answer

Marya Pickering: did not answer

Markus Batchelor: did not answer

Claudia Barragan: did not answer

Keith Silver: did not answer

Joe Bishop-Henchman: did not answer

Kathy Henderson: did not answer

Eric M. Rogers: did not answer

A'shia Howard: did not answer

14. Lack of access to housing is the number-one barrier to successful reintegration into the community for those released from prisons and jails. With the COVID-19 crisis, these returning citizens are at even greater risk when they cannot access safe housing. What will you do to address both the immediate- and long-term need of housing for returning citizens?

Q.Lack of access to housing is the number-one barrier to successful reintegration into the community for those released from prisons and jails. With the COVID-19 crisis, these returning citizens are at even greater risk when they cannot access safe housing. What will you do to address both the immediate- and long-term need of housing for returning citizens?
A.

Calvin Gurley: The District should not penalize returning citizens from the opportunity to be hired for employment or for-biding them from all D.C. services and programs, which includes public housing, that is available to all citizens of the District of Columbia.

Will Merrifield: In the immediate term, DC must decarcerate all detention facilities. We are the only campaign in the At-Large race with a policy calling for the decarceration of DC’s jails and youth detention centers. Our policy includes COVID-19 testing for 100% of incarcerated people and requires the creation of comprehensive, individualized release plans for all freed people that ensure safe housing and access to necessities, such as food, clothing, hygiene products, communication access, and any needed support services. Officials must confirm safe return residences for all individuals being released. Given that many returning citizens cannot return to their family homes because public housing and affordable housing vouchers do not allow guests, a policy that increases the risk of recidivism, those without clear release locations should be housed in single hotel rooms with food delivery and other necessities until the state of emergency is lifted. Longer term housing requires a more holistic approach. My campaign is closely aligned with and informed by both people currently incarcerated in Federal prison and returning citizens. As such, we know with certainty that in order to reduce recidivism, people coming home from prison need a viable way to exist legally here, namely access to housing and living wage work. Currently, Washington DC is one of the most expensive places in the world to live and has one of the highest unemployment rates for African Americans in the country. Our campaign is anchored by the belief that housing must be de-commodified and the District must provide a guaranteed jobs program for those that want to work. We are running on a Green New Deal platform that is premised on the creation of thousands of units of social housing and a jobs program for people to build it. Those units, and living wage jobs constructing them, would be accessible to returning citizens. If people are provided reasonable access to those two fundamental needs – housing and employment – recidivism would be greatly reduced. Secondly, with regards to both recidivism and mass incarceration, I cannot overstate the importance of close collaboration with incarcerated people and returning citizens. It is our campaign’s position that mass incarceration or recidivism policies made without the direct involvement of formerly incarcerated individuals will not offer legitimate solutions and will not be as effective as they could be, just as housing solutions crafted by any entity that does not directly collaborate with those facing displacement will fall short. The last 20 years of DC policy are evidence of this – those claiming sweeping policy victories in this environment clearly have not included affected communities in their solution building. As a Councilmember, I will ensure that every criminal justice policy formulated by myself or others is vetted with individuals who have system involvement and amended based on their knowledge.

Marcus Goodwin: We can create a program through department of housing and community development to ensure returning citizens priority in securing inclusionary zoning units in new developments. As local property values increase, all Washingtonians should have opportunities to see the benefits of this prosperity. On the Council, I will focus on ensuring that residents of all income levels have programs available to them to become homeowners; especially returning citizens. We will expand the District’s Home Purchase Assistance Program, support the production of workforce housing units through the Housing Production Trust Fund and incentivize the creation of more rent to ownership programs. I want the Council to double down on its commitment to preserve and create affordable rental housing units. We will invest in Permanent Supportive Housing and the Local Rent Supplement Programs to address the growing housing demands of the District.

Jeanné Lewis: I proposed 5 priorities for the FY20 and FY21 budgets in light of COVID-19. I commit to funding and implementing priorities of The Way Home Campaign, as well as helping to establish new sustainable opportunities for those with very low-income incomes or other barriers to housing to have adequate housing.  My objective would be to increase funding for the suite of programs targeting homelessness, while also decreasing the need for these programs (and ultimately decreasing the need for this funding). Given the importance of the reentry process, we need small, group housing options for returning citizens. Size matters - it alleviates push back from community members, and allows for targeted services and programming for returning citizens. But the surrounding neighborhood is equally important. My platform for equitable development includes support for small businesses and cooperative business models. Both options - which allow for worker ownership - provide opportunities for employment and economic development for returning citizens, who often struggle to navigate bias and challenges in the job market.

Addison Sarter: My reparations plan will fight to provide affordable housing to as many Black residents as possible. I have been developing a partnership with the Black construction company in DC, called “ASCXND”, who are passionate about helping the Black community. The co-founder stated how his company would be more than capable of building houses at low rates to help allow lowincome Black residents build wealth. Black returning citizens would be included in this. The DC government makes many partnerships with developers and landlords but unfortunately they just happen to be predominantly White, and are only seeking profit. Black people deserve the right to control the resources in our neighborhoods.

Alexander Padro: The reduction in the need for commercial office space resulting from the health restrictions imposed to control the coronavirus pandemic presents an opportunity to convert office space to housing. A policy could be established to require inclusion of a specific number of units in every building conversion from office to residential use to create new housing for both the homeless and returning citizens. This policy could also be supported through fees associated with the approval of such conversions and a percentage of the property taxes generated by the converted buildings. Fulltime employment of returning citizens by an expansion of the Clean & Safe Teams funded by the Department of Small and Local Business Development, which I help create in 2006, would also allow these returning citizens to help pay for their shelter as they become self-sufficient.

Ann Wilcox: Returning citizens should have the same options under Covid that homeless and other unhoused people have: use of hotel rooms, or other affordable housing that the City can obtain. We must decrease the barriers to housing for returning citizens, in order to encourage their successful return (and prevent recidivist behavior).

Franklin Garcia: Work with Community Based Organizations (CBO), to fund programs that already have housing programs that assist. Work on creating programs through work programs that will commit returning citizens to housing projects while they complete programs that allow them to get skills to join the work force. Continue to advocate/push the Mayor for more money to be invested into affordable housing.

Christina Henderson: Returning citizens experiencing homelessness face similar housing challenges as low-income residents, but their situation is often also compounded with mental health needs, significant gaps in employment and housing history, and high rates of discrimination in the housing market. As a Councilmember, I would advocate for DC to invest in supportive transitional housing for returning citizens, not just housing vouchers. This housing would be designed to provide services and support during those critical first few years following an individual’s release. In the immediate, I believe that returning citizens with the highest needs should be prioritized for DC’s existing Permanent Supportive Housing program. Having safe, stable housing is foundational to helping individuals get back on track. Lack of housing is also a known barrier for returning citizens when it comes to employment. I also would push for passage, if it has not happened by the end of this Council Period, of comprehensive criminal record sealing legislation. The current prohibition on discrimination by housing providers (and employers, etc.) against people with criminal records puts the onus on the individual returning citizen to file a complaint with Office of Human Rights. That agency is overextended and underfunded, leading to extremely long waits for resolution. Further, we know how difficult it can be, particularly for people of few resources, to prove discrimination. If we instead made it easier (or even automatic in some cases) to seal or expunge criminal records, the basis for that discrimination would disappear. The fact that the Council has not acted on the Record Sealing Modernization Act is troubling. There is widespread consensus on the need for this reform, which was revealed, in part, by the work I did with Councilmember Grosso to allow sealing of past marijuana possession offenses. The impact of that legislation was blunted by the inequities of the broader criminal record sealing laws in DC.

Ed Lazere: A 2020 report from DCFPI showed that incarceration is a major contributor to homelessness in DC, because the District does little to ensure that returning citizens have stable housing. The lack of stable housing also contributes to recidivism. That report made several recommendations, including doing more to support the transition back home, creating programs to facilitate returning citizens re-connecting with families, programs to provide short term housing to returning citizens, and specialized services for returning citizens in homeless shelters. Beyond these specialized services, I also would work to fully address DC’s affordable housing needs. As a Council member, I would identify what it will take to provide affordable housing over the next decade to everyone who needs it, starting with the lowest income families, and then hold my colleagues accountable to providing the funding and policy changes to fully meet that timetable.

Mario Cristaldo: Affordable housing is the number one issue in the District of Columbia including housing for our returning citizens. I have a very comprehensive solution to the housing issues that can benefit our returning citizens as well. Here are some of them: 

  • Reclaim rent control and amend our current act to increase the number of units under rent control. The law should apply to buildings constructed before 2011 and to landlords who own up to four units or more
  • Amend the DC Inclusionary Zoning Law to require 30% of the units of any housing development project in DC
  • At minimum 2/3 of those units to be dedicated for lowand moderate-income individuals and families
  • Set the goal of 36,000 new affordable housing units for 2030. This is to cover the broad spectrum of affordable housing needed in the city including temporary housing, rental housing and homeownership.
  • Update and amend the District Comprehensive Plan to reflect the new impact due to the COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Increase the number of public housing developments to 20,000 in total to include renovated and new construction units.
  • Increase by 10,000 units affordable housing exclusively designated to seniors for independent and assisted living

Michangelo Scruggs: I support the building of modular housing/ shipping crate homes to house our low-income residents, as well as modular housing communities to assist those returning citizens. In the interim, I will enact legislation to rehab some of our dilapidated housing so that we can accommodate those returning to society.

Mónica Palacio: The District has been home for many individuals in halfway homes for years and the closure of Hope Village was a devastating decision that put many individuals back in prisons where they are vulnerable to contracting COVID-19. While there are real concerns regarding the new halfway house opening in October of this year in Northeast, I support this development because it means that people will have the opportunity to reestablish themselves in their hometown. If we learned anything from Hope Village is that we need to be more vigilant of the practices and conditions that halfway housing provides for individuals. As a member of the Council, I am committed to ensuring that this new development never violates the human and civil rights of individuals. My top priorities to ensure this are:

  • Overseeing that staff treat individuals with dignity and respect
  • That accommodations are safe and secure
  • That it provides individuals with the proper tools to reestablish themselves in society

Robert White: During my first campaign, I shared publicly that returning citizens would be a priority for me if I were elected to office, and I have lived up to that promist. Each budget cycle, I find funding in the city’s budget for housing vouchers specifically for returning citizens. I also fund job opportunities to ensure a real investment in helping our neighbors return to our community with housing stability. This year was no different. I led the effort to fund 18 housing vouchers, creating a pilot program to connect returning citizens with employers who can provide long-term careers, extended the Paralegal Fellowship Initiative that has trained returning citizens as successful paralegals, and allocated $300,000 to support more organizations serving returning citizens. I have been working on long-term solutions that help returning citizens gain access to stable housing and good paying jobs. I have led the Council in doubling the staff at the Mayor’s Office of Returning Citizen Affairs in just three years. I wrote and funded the Returning Citizens Opportunity to Succeed Act, which provides free government IDs and birth certificates for returning citizens, a three-month public transportation stipend, and additional transition support before residents leave prison. These were all huge barriers that returning citizens told me they needed help overcoming. I have also introduced the Criminal Record Accuracy Assurance Act, which prohibits background check companies from sharing arrests and charges that did not result in convictions or convictions that courts have expunged or sealed.

Chander Jayaraman: "Current conditions in our city’s shelters are dirty, unsafe, and a haven of risk for contracting a number of communicable illnesses, including COVID-19. In the short-term, I would advocate for the development and conversion of existing congregate emergency housing into micro-units that offer privacy, dignity and are coupled with support services within the same building. This would also be available to individuals who are homeless. The District’s rapid re-housing plan is insufficient. The problem is that it shifts full responsibility for rent onto the people who are helped by the program too rapidly and completely, leaving many of our neighbors cycling in and out of housing. We need to increase funding to provide longer-term support for our most housing-vulnerable community members, and take into account their ability to pay and percentage of income going to rental costs. In the long-term, we should look at every single housing construction project in the District as an opportunity to give someone a job. By including a caveat with developers that in order to obtain the huge tax benefits and other financial incentives that are offered by the City, they have to hire a certain percentage of individuals with a previous criminal record, we could get people to return to work on those projects, and to be prioritized to own/rent one of them when they are available (if the development is in public housing)."

Vincent Orange: did not answer

Marya Pickering: did not answer

Markus Batchelor: did not answer

Claudia Barragan: did not answer

Keith Silver: did not answer

Joe Bishop-Henchman: did not answer

Kathy Henderson: did not answer

Eric M. Rogers: did not answer

A'shia Howard: did not answer

15. As the District heads into a recession resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a risk that resources for low-income District residents will be cut and police enforcement of quality of life offenses will increase, leading to more criminalization of residents living in poverty. What would be your vision of how to prevent this outcome?

Q.As the District heads into a recession resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a risk that resources for low-income District residents will be cut and police enforcement of quality of life offenses will increase, leading to more criminalization of residents living in poverty. What would be your vision of how to prevent this outcome?
A.

Calvin Gurley: The District must continue to provide funds, social services and medical services to the poor and low-income residents who are without work and can not pay their rent and utilities.

Will Merrifield: I vehemently oppose any funding cuts to services. The DC government has projected a $1.25B budgetary shortfall for FY2020 and FY2021. Others have proposed closing this gap by tapping into DC’s reserves, spending down our FY2019 budget surplus, and closing a corporate tax loophole for tech companies. While these are good and necessary steps, they do not go far enough. Surplus and reserve spending is not sustainable, and simply returning to breakeven will not fix the underlying problems that made DC’s Black and Brown residents disproportionately vulnerable to COVID-19 or pay for rent cancellation, provide housing to clear the shelters, or fund desperately needed capital infusions to small businesses. We need a fundamentally different approach to spending if we are going to recover from this crisis, which is why my team and I are running on a Green New Deal for DC. We can generate renewable revenue on par with reserve & surplus spending through marginal tax increases on DC’s wealthiest residents and the elimination of developer giveaways. Wealthy residents have benefited more from tax breaks included in the Trump-GOP tax law of 2017 and the CARES Act than anyone else: we must ensure that money is used to provide relief for those who need it. We will use this revenue to fund a WPA-style jobs program building thousands of units of permanently affordable, regenerative Social Housing. This way, we will recover and be stronger than before. I propose that we recapture the Trump tax cuts for individuals making over $350K, close the Carried Interest loophole for hedge fund managers, and pass a 3% surcharge on incomes of half a million dollars or more, bringing our top tax bracket in line with California’s. This alone would generate $850M annually. I also support recapturing the CARES Act tax cut for the wealthiest business owners and clawing back subsidies from developers who have failed to meet their public benefit requirements, as they commonly do. Taken together, these proposals constitute a seed investment in DC’s future, generating roughly a billion dollars annually. Social Housing and the jobs to build it are regenerative investments that will provide immediate relief and pay dividends down the road. Permanently affordable rent will put extra money in people’s pockets to spend in their communities, reinvigorating the local economy. Affordable first floor retail spaces will house small businesses, giving them a chance to recover and thrive. This is a real plan for a just recovery. This is the path forward. For full details, please check out our full budget policy.

Marcus Goodwin: The mayor recently released her budget showing no cuts to social programs that directly benefit low income residents. As for police enforcement I firmly believe that we need to address the criminalization of poverty which has become more prominent in society.

Jeanné Lewis: DC has 4 reserve accounts. Two of them are congressionally mandated, and we should ask congress to waive the rules for how we can spend those funds. But our city government controls the rules for the other 2 accounts which total almost $900 million. When we access those reserves, we can’t cut spending this year. We need to fulfill our commitments, make sure we fund crisis intervention that advances equity, and that we create an infrastructure now to strengthen our economy and build our reserves back up next fiscal year. Two specif ways we can do that are to: Expand funding for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, including increasing staff to implement the program. This will help us prepare for renters with hardship once evictions are allowed to resume and back rent needs to be paid. Invest in infrastructure to generate additional income and engage DC residents in healing our economy next fiscal year. We can plan now for the city to sell bonds with a value between $25 and $5000 to individuals who want to help the city’s economy. The profit from the sale of the bonds can be targeted to provide funding for two purposes:

  • Businesses with fewer than 10 employees and those owned by Black, Indigenous and people of color.
  • Individuals, especially immigrants, who are left out of federal stimulus programs

Finally, I strongly support the REAR Act and think implications for racial equity should be taken into consideration in every thing that the District government does. This includes the Council, commissions and boards, and contractors. Otherwise, we will continue to see the enactment of seemingly-race-neutral policies that fuel the large and growing disparities between white and Black, Indigenous and people of color residents. These effects are rarely “unintended consequences,” which could not have been anticipated. Requiring a greater focus up front on the consequences of policies and agency decisions is essential.  The REAR Act has the potential to reduce racial inequality in the District, but to have a significant impact it will require going further. It is important that we establish an Office of Racial Equity with a Chief Equity Officer focused on assuring that this legislation impacts every part of the D.C. government, boards and contractors through data collection, accountability, and transparency. Successful implementation will also require real community engagement—guaranteeing language access in all agencies and branches of government and governed by community-based advisory boards. To significantly change the way we go about formulating and implementing policies requires a true culture change; this is why proper training is so essential. The District has already invested as a member of the nation-wide Government Alliance on Racial Equity (GARE), which provides access to national best-practices in terms of training, racial equity tools, and technical assistance to agencies as they make this important shift. We can build on these existing resources to ensure that city staff and elected officials are properly and consistently trained. 

Addison Sarter: As we know, there has been a recent movement to “Defund” the police. I would reallocate millions from MPD to reparations, housing, mental health facilities/ clinics, job training and youth programs. I would also fight to increase rehabilitative programs within jails such as trade skills, entrepreneurship classes, and therapy. I would also put and end to that STUPID and POINTLESS H st street car, which is a waste of 35 million dollars. That 35 million dollars would be reallocated back to the community as well. As mentioned earlier I will fight for Black people to have our own police force.

Alexander Padro: All possible efforts must be made to minimize the negative impact of revenue reductions on our social safety net. The must vulnerable segments of our population must have access to increased evictions. Cost savings through increased efficiency and economies of scale should be sought through increased Council oversight over the agencies and contractors providing these services.

Ann Wilcox: I think we are generally heading toward reducing the police budget, and NOT relying on police resources, but there could always be back-sliding. We must continue to build affordable housing, rapid rehousing for the homeless, and other transitional programs. These programs pay off in the long run, increasing the investment made.

Franklin Garcia: First oppose to such actions, by advocating for more funding for the programs that are needed in impoverished communities, more investment in education, affordable housing. I would advocate to direct money into programs that have long term effect of eradication poverty, by investing in training programs, partner with the private sector to bring more opportunities to the community, and create programs to engage young people at an early age in developing their communities.

Christina Henderson: Even though we are facing an uncertain economic outlook due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am committed to fighting for a more equitable DC and I believe the frontline of that fight is in the DC budget. The Mayor’s proposed FY21 budget was a good start – the decision to use some of the city’s reserves and prior year surplus dollars ensures that DC will not see massive cuts to critical services and program at a time when residents need them the most. There are increased investments in education and much-need capital funding to rehabilitate and modernize our aging public housing stock. But there were shortfalls, that as a Councilmember I would also fight for. For example, the proposed budget includes no increased funding to support childcare centers and homes. Childcare is not just an education issue; it is a workforce issue—critical to economy. We need increased funding for local programs that improve access to healthy foods and promote food security for communities. The recent Produce Rx and WIC program expansions are not funded in the proposed budget; these should be funded with recurring dollars. And while the proposed budget makes continued investments in Homeward DC, it provides no new funding for rental assistance or programs like tenant-based vouchers. It is going to take families and individuals months, even years, before they can fully recover from the financial impact of the layoffs and furloughs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. If elected, I would work tirelessly with my colleagues to produce budgets that are people-centered and continue to provide support to our neighbors and communities in need. I would also oppose any legislation that attempts to attach fines or criminal penalties for individuals not adhering to social distancing and other types of pandemic orders. Law enforcement cannot stop COVID-19.

Ed Lazere: With Black and Brown communities bearing the brunt of deaths and job loss from the coronavirus crisis, DC’s leaders must ensure this budget reflects our DC values to lift up and protect those most in need. We must not hurt communities further through severe budget cuts to public services. Protecting DC residents is not only the right thing to do, it’s also the best path toward rebuilding our communities, making our economy stronger than ever, and addressing the inequities in housing, health care, education, and transportation, that have only grown starker as a result of this crisis. Responsible use of reserves, closing tax loopholes, and other steps could build a better budget and avoid deep cuts.

Mario Cristaldo: COVID -19 has exacerbated all the issues we are experiencing in the District of Columbia, including the issues of crime prevention and criminalization of our residents in distress areas of the District. The DC government must continue to seek proactive solutions to eradicate crime. We know poverty, illegal guns, and lack of community development are roots of the problem. Some specific solutions to eradicate crime are:

  • Dedicate more resources to community development including the hiring of local community organizers to proactively work on crime prevention measures.
  • Provide access to job opportunities and continuing education to low income individuals and families.
  • Seek greater, more organized collaboration with surrounding jurisdictions to stop the entry of illegal contraband and access of guns to DC.
  • Implement recommendations from the Comprehensive Homicide Elimination Strategy Task Force for creating policies, projects and programs in DC.

Michangelo Scruggs: First, we have to have a police force that shares the values of the community at large and the commitment to uphold the public trust, no matter what. This is why I believe law enforcement should be required to live in the District, to invest in the communities they serve

Mónica Palacio: Central to my platform is that we as a District government must prioritize investments in Black and Brown lives and for low income people and for other vulnerable groups such as Transgender women of color. We cannot and we do not want to criminalize people for being poor or for being part of a system that failed to meet their needs. This is why I believe that even though we will see cuts in the future when it comes to resources and development, these three things cannot see a reduction in funding:

  • Funding for residents to pay their rent and mortgages during this economic crisis.
  • Funding for equitable school system where all students needs are being met
  • Funding for access to health care and social services The US Government has left out District residents from many relief efforts. We, as a city cannot also leave behind vulnerable communities. Our government has a responsibility to act and pursue a just recovery for ALL of the people in the District and I am committed to ensure that we act on that responsibility.

Robert White: I have been vocal about the need to tap our emergency reserve funds and raise taxes on very high income earners to help our lowest income residents make it through this pandemic. I have been fighting to expand rental assistance programs to prevent any residents who have been hit particularly hard by this pandemic and recession from becoming homeless. What is more, residents that are housing insecure or are experiencing homelessness tend to have unnecessary police interactions. In the most recent budget cycle, I committed $20 million for the District’s Local Rent Supplement Program to support extremely low-income residents who need housing, and $400,000 for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which provides emergency financial assistance to low-income people and families facing eviction. My priority continues to be protecting residents from the initial instability that leads them to increased police interaction.

Chander Jayaraman: I hope and pray that this scenario does not occur — it would be disastrous to criminalize our residents living in poverty. There is room in city agency budgets for cuts and savings without impacting direct services. For decades we’ve seen agencies work in silos and resist efforts to cooperate and eliminate duplication of services and logistics. We should also look to technology and teleworking to reduce costs and use those savings to further support social service programs.

Vincent Orange: did not answer

Marya Pickering: did not answer

Markus Batchelor: did not answer

Claudia Barragan: did not answer

Keith Silver: did not answer

Joe Bishop-Henchman: did not answer

Kathy Henderson: did not answer

Eric M. Rogers: did not answer

A'shia Howard: did not answer

16. As a Councilmember, would you support the full legalization of marijuana in the District?

Q.As a Councilmember, would you support the full legalization of marijuana in the District?
A.

Calvin Gurley: Currently, the de-criminalization of marijuana has caught on by the city's youth. Too many youth are participating in this portion of freedom to use reefer which has contribute to the drop-out rate and absenteeism in schools. We should focus on this current issue of usage before the city go further to full legalization.

Will Merrifield: Yes. The criminalization of marijuana, though used at equal rates by Black and White people, results in the overwhelming incarceration of Black people. It is simply a tool of mass incarceration and, as such, should be removed.

Marcus Goodwin: This ties directly with the District’s issue of statehood. Yes, I support the full legalization of marijuana as it a social and economic equity issue. It can help heal people, empower entrepreneurs and be a significant revenue driver for the city. However, as long as Congress either of the houses is Republican controlled, this is unlikely to happen. Full statehood may be required to pass it into law.

Jeanné Lewis: Yes, I would support full legalization as this is what DC residents voted for in 2014. We have a confusing patchwork of laws surrounding this issue that needs to be fully addressed. By legalizing marijuana, we can also increase the city’s revenue by taxing it. However, any laws that address marijuana legalization should also retroactively address individuals who are currently incarcerated for marijuana-related offenses, which is overwhelmingly Black and brown individuals.

Addison Sarter: Yes.

Alexander Padro: I would support the legalization of marijuana, including licensing, regulation and taxation. Other states have successfully developed vibrant economies based on cannabis cultivation, marketing and sales. The revenue generated by marijuana taxes and fees could help fund needed improvements in social programs, such as job training, public health and education. Unlicensed sales of marijuana by individuals should remain illegal.

Ann Wilcox: Yes, I support full legalization of marijuana in DC; decriminalization and allowing recreational use, has not decreased drug-related arrests in black and brown communities. Hopefully we will be able to tax and regulate marijuana with a future Congress. In addition, medical marijuana (along with other natural substances, mushrooms etc.) are needed by some people.

Franklin Garcia: Yes. As we have seen here in the district and all throughout the country there are benefits for both citizens and the municipality as a whole. D.C. has seen a clear decrease in drug related charges due to the decriminalization, and I think that our city should benefit from the tax revenue to be made on such transactions.

Christina Henderson: As a Councilmember, I would support the full legalization of marijuana in the District. I served as Councilmember David Grosso’s first Legislative Director and drafted the Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Act of 2013 which would have legalized possession and use for the persons over the age of 21 years old, and implemented a regulation and taxation system for retail sale. I also wrote and we passed companion legislation, the Record Sealing for Decriminalized and Legalized Offenses Act of 2014, which allows individuals to file a motion to seal the records of offenses that are decriminalized or legalized after the date of their arrest, charge, or conviction. Pretext policing and a decades long crusade against marijuana in DC had led to rising arrests rates and racial disparities too great to ignore. In 2010, 91 percent of all marijuana arrests in DC were of Black people even though we know use is similar across the population. Based on work done by the ACLU DC and its partners, we knew that DC had a higher per capita arrest rate and spent more money on marijuana enforcement than almost any other state or county in the US. It was time for a common sense and measured approach. At the time, the Council decided to move forward with a decriminalization measure, which I supported, but we know it does not go far enough. If we are to limit the arrests and stifle the underground market, which is selling to young people, we need to implement a strong tax and regulate system. Aside from providing clear rules to ensure the safety of consumers, the system must have a reparative lens to account for the harm of the war on drugs. A tax and regulate bill must ensure that DC residents are first in line for licenses and prioritize the participation in the legal market of those whose lives were ruined by the war on marijuana. It is infuriating that Congress is prohibiting DC from moving forward with marijuana legalization, but I’m hopeful that the congressional riders will be lifted in 2021.

Ed Lazere: Yes.

Mario Cristaldo: Yes, I support full legalization of marijuana in DC. We are in desperate need of revenues for our budget and sales taxes for this product is very much needed at this time.

Michangelo Scruggs: For those over 21, I would support the full legalization of marijuana. Of course, I would also enact laws around managing its use responsibly

Mónica Palacio: Yes, having worked with incarcerated individuals for 28 years, I have seen how the criminalization of marijuana holds a significant racial disparity in the way marijuana laws are enforced. A Black person is 3.37 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than their white counterparts. Not only does this have a long history of incarceration of Black communities, but it also impacts people’s ability to receive public housing, financial aid for school, employment, and loans. Legalizing marijuana would help correct disparities and effects of systemic racism that have damaged our communities of color for far too long.

Robert White: Yes. And once we legalize marijuana without Congress blocking it, we need to make sure Black and Brown communities, who were most impacted by the disproportionate policing, arrests, and convictions are not left behind. Aside from vacating and expunging convictions, there must also be a focus on ensuring there is equity in the rapidgrowing cannabis industry. My first months in office, I authored and passed a bill to set aside medical marijuana licenses for local women- and minority-owned businesses, which resulted in the last available license being granted to a Black woman in Ward 8. Full legalization would be an opportunity for us to make progress on racial and economic justice.

Chander Jayaraman: I believe the Council needs to carefully review the data from the impact of decriminalization of marijuana in DC over the past few years, and use that data, as well as input from stakeholders, to inform any further actions. While the residents of DC voted overwhelmingly to decriminalize marijuana, the District is still subject to the whims of Congress. Legalization is a states rights issue and the District should be afforded the responsibility to determine how it treats the use of marijuana.

Vincent Orange: did not answer

Marya Pickering: did not answer

Markus Batchelor: did not answer

Claudia Barragan: did not answer

Keith Silver: did not answer

Joe Bishop-Henchman: did not answer

Kathy Henderson: did not answer

Eric M. Rogers: did not answer

A'shia Howard: did not answer

17. Most immigration enforcement in D.C. happens through its criminal justice system's collaboration with ICE (ex. police arrests, D.C. jail, the courts which transfer people to ICE). Immigrant communities have called on the DC government to end collaboration and do all it can to end immigration enforcement. What will you do to ensure that DC ends such ICE collaboration and enforcement in the District?

Q.Most immigration enforcement in D.C. happens through its criminal justice system's collaboration with ICE (ex. police arrests, D.C. jail, the courts which transfer people to ICE). Immigrant communities have called on the DC government to end collaboration and do all it can to end immigration enforcement. What will you do to ensure that DC ends such ICE collaboration and enforcement in the District?
A.

Calvin Gurley: I support the current position that the District is using.

Will Merrifield: DC is a sanctuary city, but this is not sufficient. We must do everything we can to provide actually sanctuary to undocumented immigrants, including, most obviously, not cooperating with ICE. Furthermore, undocumented residents should be treated no differently than documented ones. Council, for example, excluded undocumented workers from receiving any relief as part of the local COVID-19 response effort. In a desperate, emergency situation, our “Sanctuary” status meant nothing for local families. When policies and promises prove to be empty, the path for accountability is organizing political will. I am deeply connected to the Latinx organizing community, and I would use my platform to elevate their work and strengthen the calls for accountability, starting with educating the public on the extent of their government’s collaboration with ICE.

Marcus Goodwin: Mayor Bowser has been firm about local officials not cooperating with ICE. I would remain steadfast about continuing this agenda as we seek to remain a sanctuary city.

Jeanné Lewis: The same accountability measures I have proposed for MPD and WMATA can be expanded to protect immigrant communities. I would also look to continue and expand the emergency legislation that was passed last October limiting the DC Jail and law enforcement’s interaction with ICE.

Addison Sarter: Some cities in America have chosen to open up their cities during Covid and some have chosen not to. If elected I will submit a bill that work with ICE and will allow undocumented immigrants to stay here in DC.

Alexander Padro: Immigration enforcement under the Trump administration has become more inhumane and cruel than ever before. The DC government should continue to not allow MPD to cooperate with ICE. I would vote to extend the restrictions on such collaboration.

Ann Wilcox: DC must reiterate its status as a Sanctuary City; this was recently stated again by the DC Council. We should also renew legal services grants and supports for immigrant communities - which will encourage safety and protection. DC law enforcement must NOT cooperate with ICE or provide information about persons being held in DC facilities.

Franklin Garcia: Local police officers do not currently cooperate with ICE for the purpose of reporting undocumented residents. ICE still has the ability to pursue undocumented DC residents through other means, like raids. We need to ensure that the immigrant community continues to be protected by ensuring renewal of the MOU between the Mayor and the immigrant community that makes DC a sanctuary city.

Christina Henderson: I strongly believe that if DC is going to call itself a sanctuary city, our policies and practices should be aligned with that meaning. I support the Sanctuary Values Amendment Act of 2019 which limits DC government’s cooperation with federal immigration agencies in several ways including information sharing, holding individuals in custody after they would have otherwise been released, and limiting access to DC facilities. The legislation would also prohibit DC government officials from inquiring about immigration status of individuals in custody. I was pleased to see that the Council quickly passed this bill on an emergency and temporary basis last Fall, but the legislation expires in October 2020. I anticipate that the Council will not let that legislation lapse, but it’s only a first step. If DC is to truly detangle itself from cooperation with federal immigration agencies, we must revisit the intergovernmental agreement DC has with the US Marshals Service to house federal inmates at the DC Department of Corrections. Due to this agreement, there are a number of inmates in DC facilities are that do not have the protections that the emergency and temporary legislation affords. As a Councilmember, I would push to ensure that information about this agreement, including the financial implications, are made public and if feasible, that we pull back. I also am committed to continued oversight on this issue. Many of us did not know that the DC Department of Corrections was providing ICE with a 48-hour warning before releasing an inmate with an ICE detainer request until a local paper filed a Freedom of Information Act request and published their findings. Anecdotally, we know that some MPD officers also cooperate with ICE. Changing DC government policy is one thing, but as a Councilmember I will be also working to ensure that our policies and laws are being implemented by agencies with fidelity.

Ed Lazere: A city that says it cares about immigrants and supporting their sanctuary should do everything it can to limit cooperation with ICE. As a Council member I would work:

  • To ensure that no one enters ICE custody as a result of being in the DC Jail. I would take steps needed to stop the Department of Corrections from sharing information with ICE, even when ICE requests it. 44 DC Residents were detained outside of DC Jail since 2016, but many more were detained directly outside as well.
  • To convert minor offenses from misdemeanors that may result in someone being in court to offenses that result in citation and release.
  • To implement policies to reduce incarceration, which will reduce the likelihood of possible transfer to ICE.

Mario Cristaldo: The District of Columbia DC is a sanctuary city, made so by our local laws. DC residents should never be turned over to ICE by our criminal justice system. I will propose stronger legislation which provides DC citizens, judges, lawyers and other persons in authority have no duty to cooperate with ICE agents. I will continue to be an advocate to prevent for such action taking place in the District of Columbia. I will work with other stakeholders to enhance their capacity to organize in favor of our immigrant communities and provide the necessary funding for them.

Michangelo Scruggs: I will enact laws that ends ICE collaboration, and documents "undocumented" immigrants on a local level with a streamlined pipeline to "green card" status and citizenship.

Mónica Palacio: As an immigrant and a champion for Human Rights, I know that the fear of ICE can bring trauma, a sense of instability and fear for individuals in the District. While we are a sanctuary city, I want to introduce strong local policies to the Council so that MPD does not cooperate with ICE in any level and I want to continue fighting for statehood so that we can have a voice in changing immigration policy at the national level. I am in support of “Abolish ICE” because I do not believe in reform of an agency that has repeatedly terrorized and violated the human rights of thousands of immigrants in our country. ICE has tore and terrorized our communities for far too long and it is time that Washington, D.C. has a voice in the decisions Congress makes regarding the enforcement and practices of this agency.

Robert White: I co-introduced the Sanctuary Values Act that was introduced by Councilmember Charles Allen, which was intended to end coordination between the Metropolitan Police Department and ICE officials. Of course, federal law supersedes local laws, and we have the additional obstacle of getting congressional approval on our laws, so our most direct power lies in oversight over the Metropolitan Police Department and DC Jail. I will continue being a strong check on our local agencies and a leading advocate in fighting the federal government.

Chander Jayaraman: The vast number of immigrants living in the District – our neighbors, our friends – are hard-working citizens and valued residents of our community. As an immigrant myself — I moved to this country when I was 10 — I am troubled by the continued reports that some MPD officers collaborate with federal marshalls and ICE to transfer individuals from the DC courthouse (often after their case is dismissed) to ICE officers. If we are truly a sanctuary city, this practice has to stop – it is in violation of current city policy, and such collusion is antithetical to what DC residents have advocated for. I support the continuation and expansion of the Immigration Justice Legal Fund, and I also would also advocate for immigration justice to be a core element of the required training curriculum for all MPD officers. I also suspect that pressures on local law enforcement to cooperate with ICE officials in violation of the City’s possible would be greatly reduced and perhaps even eliminated if DC was able to gain local control over our judiciary system again.

Vincent Orange: did not answer

Marya Pickering: did not answer

Markus Batchelor: did not answer

Claudia Barragan: did not answer

Keith Silver: did not answer

Joe Bishop-Henchman: did not answer

Kathy Henderson: did not answer

Eric M. Rogers: did not answer

A'shia Howard: did not answer

18. Do you support the Second Look Amendment Act, which expands the opportunity to request re-sentencing for young adults who committed their offense between the ages of 18-25?

Q.Do you support the Second Look Amendment Act, which expands the opportunity to request re-sentencing for young adults who committed their offense between the ages of 18-25?
A.

Calvin Gurley: I must review this issue more. No comment.

Will Merrifield: Yes. I supported the Second Look Amendment Act last year and continue to support it. I don’t believe we should be incarcerating anyone who is not a threat to public safety, period. Young people whose brains are still developing should not be thrown away without a second chance. This legislation is an obvious and common sense place to start.

Marcus Goodwin: Yes absolutely, any inmate who can be considered not a threat to society should have their case reconsidered once they have reached the age of 25. Whatever we can do to decrease prison populations due to small offenses is right course of action.

Jeanné Lewis: Yes.

Addison Sarter: Yes.

Alexander Padro: Yes. I support the opportunity for youth offenders to have their sentence reconsidered for crimes other than violent crimes. Similar to parole hearings, such reconsideration could allow youth that have gained maturity and are positioning themselves for their return to society should have the opportunity to have their sentences reduced.

Ann Wilcox: Yes, definitely: the Second Look Amendment must be expanded so that more young people have the opportunity for early release. In addition, judges should be instructed not to deny applications based on disciplinary infractions while in prison (which is very common).

Franklin Garcia: I think the Second Look Amendment Act seeks to do two things: give those who are deserving a second chance and seek to ensure fair decisions are made within our courts. I support all legislation that serves as a check on our judiciary system and think the studies have proven that recidivism is not common.

Christina Henderson: Yes, I support the Second Look Amendment Act of 2019. The legislation would build upon recent laws passed by the Council to address the District’s high incarceration rate that resulted, in large part, from highly punitive mandatory minimum sentencing laws that were passed in DC in the 1980s and 1990s. The bill is aligned with a growing body of research that shows areas of the brain that influence judgement and decision making is not fully developed until one’s mid-twenties. Moreover, we know that long sentences provide diminishing returns for public safety, although cost taxpayers millions each year. When the Council’s Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety held a hearing on this legislation, nearly 200 people provided testimony. Scores of mothers writing on behalf of their children who were sentenced when they were 18 and 19 years old, many residents currently serving in facilities across the country like the 48-year-old gentleman who was sentenced when he was 21 after a petty argument over a ten-cent balloon ended deadly—the stories that were shared underscore why a bill like this is necessary and just how important it is to many DC families. Throughout DC government we have youth programs that include young adults under age 25 recognizing that from a brain development and maturity standpoint that age group often needs continued support, so the provisions of the Second Look legislation would be consistent with that view. Overall, creating an avenue for judicial review of sentences imposed on young adults is fair and just, and would help in DC’s effort to repair the harm of excessive mandatory minimum sentencing practices that led to the system of mass incarceration we see now. I hope the Council moves forward with the legislation this Council Period, and if not, I would support it as a Councilmember next year.

Ed Lazere: Yes.

Mario Cristaldo: Yes, I do support this Act. Our young adults must be given a second chance in life.

Michangelo Scruggs: Yes.

Mónica Palacio: Yes, our District currently has the highest incarceration rate of anywhere in the world and Black and Brown people account for 86% of those arrests. We know that the prefrontal cortex, which regulates emotions and behavior, does not fully develop for individuals until the age of 25. There is a human rights element here that violates the rights of youth when they are sentenced as adults. Our District needs to recognize our history of systemic racism and the reasons behind high crime rates in low-income neighborhoods. I support this act and I am committed to fund programs that will prevent youth crime and violence, as well as programs for returning citizens in the District.

Robert White: Yes. The eligibility standards to be considered for resentencing under the current version of the Incarceration Amendment Act IRAA are rigorous, and centered around ensuring that the person has been fully rehabilitated. None of the residents that have been released have reoffended. Not only does it show us that rehabilitation is possible and effective, but it also tells us that we need to expand IRAA. I have met with several of the DC residents seeking resentencing under IRAA over the course of my visits to the DC Jail’s Young Men Emerging units. Two of the men I met have been mentoring younger incarcerated men for years, but are not eligible under the current version of IRAA because they committed crimes just after their 18th birthdays. I support expanding IRAA, which is what the Second Look Amendment Act does, to give incarcerated residents a more fair review for resentencing.

Chander Jayaraman: Yes. We have to look at what individuals have done during their time served and determine whether they are willing to commit to specific educational and/or vocational training goals during their sentence similar to what would be allowed under the Individual Release Plan concept. If a nonviolent offender is willing to enroll in an Individual Release Plan, then this should lead to a reconsideration of their sentence.

Vincent Orange: did not answer

Marya Pickering: did not answer

Markus Batchelor: did not answer

Claudia Barragan: did not answer

Keith Silver: did not answer

Joe Bishop-Henchman: did not answer

Kathy Henderson: did not answer

Eric M. Rogers: did not answer

A'shia Howard: did not answer

19. In the past year we have seen several incidents of excessive force used on Metro and Metrobus customers by Metro Transit Police Department (MTPD) officers in D.C. But there is no accountability to riders because WMATA lacks a civilian oversight board of MTPD. In cooperation with Maryland and Virginia, would you support the creation of such a board of Metro Transit Police, and what steps would you take to accomplish greater accountability of MTPD to District residents?

Q.In the past year we have seen several incidents of excessive force used on Metro and Metrobus customers by Metro Transit Police Department (MTPD) officers in D.C. But there is no accountability to riders because WMATA lacks a civilian oversight board of MTPD. In cooperation with Maryland and Virginia, would you support the creation of such a board of Metro Transit Police, and what steps would you take to accomplish greater accountability of MTPD to District residents?
A.

Calvin Gurley: I support a civilian oversight board of the MTPD. The District should have full jurisdiction over the WMATA (police) that operates in the District. Likewise, this jurisdiction is extended to a Civilian Oversight Board.

Will Merrifield: Absolutely. A civilian oversight board is a great first step toward clarity and accountability. I would also collaborate with community groups working to publicize police abuses on creative methods for increasing transparency, including but not limited to the placement of PSAs about riders rights with regards to MTPD in the Metro and on buses.

Marcus Goodwin: Public transportation is such an important and necessary cornerstone of our society that it could definitely use a civilian board to keep accountability in check. It also could be a good tool not just for feedback on transit enforcement but also feedback on other intangibles such as the maintenance of the trains and subways.

Jeanné Lewis: Yes, I would support the creation of a civilian oversight board of MTPD. Their current practices disproportionately harm Black and brown DC residents, and there needs to be greater accountability and oversight. A civilian oversight board would create a stronger relationship between the community and law enforcement and build trust. Under current law, it is not even legal to sue the WMATA as an entity. I would like to introduce legislation to change that, allowing individuals to pursue legal action against WMATA if their rights have been violated so they can be held accountable. Additionally, to increase transparency, I would support legislation that would require the MTPD to release data on use of force incidents and arrests. Any action related to MTPD and WMATA would require collaboration with Maryland and Virginia as well.

Addison Sarter: I would support a civilian oversight board and if elected I will fight for body cameras to be worn by Metro Transit Police. George Floyd died while being detained and arrested. Anybody that has the power to detain and arrest people, should be wearing a body camera.

Alexander Padro: Yes, I would support the establishment of civilian oversight board for the Metro Transit Police Department. I had a young ANC constituent suffer excessive force in an encounter with the MTPD. That incident opened my eyes to the need for greater oversight over MTPD practices. Similar standards regarding the use of force as are being implemented by MPD should be established for MTPD.

Ann Wilcox: Metro Transit police must be given deescalation training and other tools of intervention. A Metro Police oversight board was recently established, similar to the Office of Police Complaints; hopefully this board will have effective powers and can provide oversight of Metro police activities.

Christina Henderson: I support the creation of a civilian oversight board for Metro Transit Police Department (MTPD). We can no longer afford to use the fact that MTPD is a tri-jurisdictional police department as an excuse to allow the actions of those officers to go unchecked. I am confident the Council and Mayor can work with legislators to in other jurisdictions to push the WMATA Board of Directors to create this independent oversight entity. It’s happened once before. In 2016, Mayor Bowser and Governors Hogan and McAuliffe entered an MOU to establish the Metro Safety Commission, an independent oversight agency to direct the safety and security of mass transit in the metropolitan area, including WMATA. There are a few things I would do if elected to bring about greater transparency and accountability for DC residents. First, I would not support a DC WMATA Board of Directors nominee who does not believe in increased accountability for MTPD and the implementation of a civilian oversight board. I say implementation because the board is going to need funding. Second, I would ask that the chair of the Committee that has jurisdiction over WMATA hold periodic oversight hearings in the same vein that we have for MPD. Often times, the Council only engages in oversight during annual performance hearings and when something goes wrong. I believe it’s imperative for Councilmembers to practice proactive oversight when it comes to agencies, and regularly request and publish data to help foster greater transparency. And finally, I would not be opposed to using the District’s WMATA capital funding agreement as leverage to get the WMATA Board to reevaluate the agency’s oversight structure for MTPD.

Ed Lazere: I support creation of a civilian oversight board for MTPD that mirrors the DC Office of Police Complaints. I would support giving OPC jurisdiction over incidents that occur in DC. And I would push for transparent data collection and publication on use of force, stops, and arrests.

Mario Cristaldo: MTPD must cooperate with MPD and the DC government while they operate inside the District of Columbia. We need a DC Task Force to look into this matter and make concrete increase transparency and accountability.

Michangelo Scruggs: Just as in the community, the MTPD must also do its part in upholding the public trust. As such, there cannot be a renegade effort to use excessive force unnecessarily on customers. I would ensure that MTPD officers are posted on buses, on subway trains, in bus terminals, and subway stations to ensure appropriate enforcement, but that there be no harassment or profiling of passengers. In addition, MTPD should be wear body-cams, with making footage available immediately during an investigation, and MTPD officers should be required to call for back-up, where there is 1:1 officer to customer ratio when there is detainment.

Mónica Palacio: Yes, I support the efforts that have already been made by some Council members to create a civilian oversight body for MTPD and for a regular republication of data on use-of-force, stops and arrests by MTPD. While our city makes great strides to reflect and act on the role of the Metropolitan Police, we have to ensure that other enforcement agencies are also being held accountable and that we demand the same level of transparency from them.

Robert White: As mentioned in a previous response, As Chair of the Committee on Facilities and Procurement, which oversees WMATA, I held an oversight hearing on policing communities of color following a viral video showing Metro Transit Police using excessive force on children and a bystander who intervened to help the children. At the hearing, I called for the creation of a civilian police complaint, and I have introduced and passed a bill to do that. I also have started working with regional officials to get bills passed in Maryland and Virginia since amending the WMATA interstate compact requires Maryland and Virginia to pass similar bills, and for Congress to consent. The WMATA Board voted in June to establish a Metro Transit Police Investigations Review Panel that will make recommendations to the Metro Transit Police Chief and the WMATA Board of Directors based on its review of MTPD investigations. The review panel will consist of police officers and civilians from the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. The review panel does not go far enough, but does show progress from WMATA and will serve the region well as we work to install a civilian complaint board. It is vital that a civilian police complaint board have the ability to investigate complaints, hear from witnesses, question officers, and have authority to recommend penalties, which WMATA’s review panel will not. If re-elected, I will continue to push for the creation of the civilian complaint board.

Chander Jayaraman: Unlike the Metropolitan Police Department, WMATA has immunity from most lawsuits, operates without a civilian complaint board, and provides limited public records, mainly because of the way the interstate compact between DC, Maryland, and Virginia is structured. During a November 2019 City Council hearing on the matter, several members made suggestions on how to bring more accountability and transparency to MTPD despite these constraints. Some of the strategies discussed included having transit police wear body cameras, as MPD officers do, creating a civilian oversight board to investigate complaints as opposed to having internal affairs do so, and establishing something akin to the MPD’s Office of Police Complaints for transit police. I would support the creation of a civilian oversight board, as well as these other recommendations posed by Councilmembers Charles Allen and Robert White.

Vincent Orange: did not answer

Marya Pickering: did not answer

Markus Batchelor: did not answer

Claudia Barragan: did not answer

Keith Silver: did not answer

Joe Bishop-Henchman: did not answer

Kathy Henderson: did not answer

Eric M. Rogers: did not answer

A'shia Howard: did not answer