The Aug. 4 editorial “Early release from prison is a danger for D.C.” can argue that the District has gone too far on criminal-justice reform only by misunderstanding the direction of and need for sentencing reform nationally. The editorial opposed recently passed District laws and a new bill that would allow a set of people convicted before age 25 to request a new sentence. A second look at sentences after 15 years is the current law for people convicted under age 18 in West Virginia. California offers age-appropriate parole hearings to people convicted under 26. Connecticut has constructed special corrections units for people under age 25. Mass incarceration is so unpopular that President Trump regularly touts signing the First Step Act, a law that has released thousands of people from federal prisons.

The editorial, citing unelected U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Jessie K. Liu, suggested most offenders eligible for resentencing are destined to be released. That’s not how this works.

Scaremongering aside, decades of research show people generally age out of crime after they leave adolescence. Yet current District law requires that even people who likely pose no threat to public safety have no hope of release. The District can fix that.

Josh Rovner, Washington

The writer is senior advocacy associate
with the Sentencing Project.

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