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DC Council Passes Second Look Amendment Act of 2019

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

On April 27, 2021, the Second Look Amendment Act of 2019 became an effective law.  The Second Look Amendment Act of 2019, now known as the “Omnibus Public Safety and Justice Act of 2020,” is an expansion of the Incarceration Reduction Amendment Act (IRAA). Introduced in 2016, IRAA 2.0 allows incarcerated residents who committed serious crimes before their 18th birthday to petition the court for resentencing after they have served at least 15 years. The law seeks to consider the defendant’s personal history, their commitment to change and rehabilitation in prison, statements from victims and prosecutors, and other circumstantial evidence, before deciding whether the petitioner’s sentence should be modified.

The Omnibus Public Safety and Justice Act of 2020, also known as IRAA 3.0, was voted “yes” unanimously by DC’s Council on December 15th, 2020.  Introduced in 2019, the law allows a person who committed a crime before the age of 25, and who has served a minimum of 15 years in prison, to apply to the DC Superior Court to have their sentence reviewed. DC adults in BOP custody who are eligible for the new legislation should contact an attorney to prepare a motion for consideration. For more information on legal representation specific to IRAA 3.0, please refer to The Second Look Project.

According to Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen, “This is about understanding how people, especially young people, can change as they grow into adulthood. The men who have come home already are doing remarkably well. Some have gotten married and started a family, others are working as violence interrupters and youth mentors, and others are starting small businesses. They are a testament to the values of hope, promise, and hard work. . .Many of the men and women who would be eligible under the Second Look provisions of the bill have been in federal prison longer than they were alive on the outside. They’re completely different people. We should recognize the value of mercy and rehabilitation, particularly as most of our incarcerated neighbors will be coming home at some point regardless, and stop paying to incarcerate people who don’t pose a danger to the community.”