Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety FY20 Budget Recommendations

Ahead of tomorrow’s 12 pm budget mark-up vote on funding recommendations for the 22 agencies within the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, here’s what Committee Chair Councilmember Charles Allen is recommending. The full 228-page budget report can be viewed here.

Improves Public Safety and Leads on Progressive Criminal Justice Reforms

  • Nearly triples funding for violence prevention and intervention programming, for a total of $10.6 million – along with support from Councilmembers Kenyan McDuffie, Robert White, Jr., and Trayon White, Sr.
  • Extends the Metropolitan Police Department’s Senior Police Officer Program, allowing MPD to retain the expertise of retiring detectives and sergeants, and increases the Department’s hiring capacity
  • Strengthens trust in law enforcement by funding a new investigator for the Office of Police Complaints and identifying $150,000 for an independent review of the policing practices of MPD’s specialized units
  • Continues to expand alternatives to traditional prosecution by increasing restorative justice staff at the Office of the Attorney General
  • Closes critical gaps in the District’s criminal justice data by funding the MPD Arrest Data Feed Project at the D.C. Sentencing Commission, enabling the District to follow case outcomes from arrest to sentencing
  • Identifies more than $75 million for immediate capital renovations to the D.C. Jail to provide a safe and dignified correctional facility
    • $150,000 to continue the work of the planning and community engagement process for a new correctional facility
  • Increases funding for returning citizens and reentry services by $1 million, including:
    • $400,000 for grants for community-based reentry services;
    • $200,000 for a grant for a social work school and returning citizen “peer navigator” partnership to provide reentry support to returning citizens sentenced as teenagers and young adults and released after decades of incarceration;
    • $150,000 for a grant for a criminal, young adult, or juvenile justice policy-focused non-profit organization to support implementation, coordination, and analysis of the Incarceration Reduction Amendment Act of 2016 (“IRAA”)[1]; and
    • $100,000 in recurring local funds for a grant for a law school clinic to represent and provide legal coordination for individuals seeking to petition for sentence review pursuant to IRAA
  • Transfers administration of the District’s automated traffic enforcement system from the Metropolitan Police Department to the District Department of Transportation to allow DDOT to use data to better inform safe road design
  • Restores the budget of the Criminal Code Reform Commission to enable the agency to finalize its comprehensive recommendations for reforming the District’s criminal laws

Supports Victims of Crime

  • Approves more than $26 million in grants for domestic violence housing, sexual assault survivors’ services, healthy relationship education, and hospital-based violence prevention programming
    • Identifies funding for the development of a new strategic plan for housing for domestic violence survivors
  • Funds portions of the School Safety Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018 to prevent child sexual abuse, sexual harassment and assault, and dating violence in schools
  • Approves $1.6 million for three new Place-Based Trauma-Informed Care Services Centers in neighborhoods with high rates of violent crime and trauma – these sites will link to existing violence prevention programming and provide trauma supports
  • Increases funding for families of crime victims for funeral and burial assistance to $10,000

Significantly Expands Legal Advocacy for Vulnerable Residents

  • Identifies $5.6 million – an increase of $450,000 – to expand access to legal services for domestic violence survivors, seniors, consumers, individuals with disabilities, individuals experiencing homelessness and housing instability, and residents with criminal records seeking expungement
  • Supports funding for an environmental protection attorney at the Office of the Attorney General to defend and ensure healthy and clean air, land, and water for District residents by prosecuting violations of environmental laws – along with support from Councilmember Mary Cheh
  • Creates a team of elder abuse prosecutors at the Office of the Attorney General with the addition of two new attorneys – along with support from Councilmembers Anita Bonds and Trayon White, Sr.

Supports Dignified and Affordable Housing

  • Invests $4.5 million in lawyers for tenants facing eviction who cannot afford an attorney
  • Funds a new housing and community justice attorney at the Office of the Attorney General to focus on housing conditions in properties owned by the D.C. Housing Authority, the District’s largest landlord

Invests in Fire, EMS, and 911/311

  • Dedicates $3.5 million to purchase 4 new ambulance units and an additional 45 firefighter paramedics or emergency medical technicians to improve emergency medical services in neighborhoods in the East End of the District
    • Funds an increase in total first responder staffing to 2,197 positions
  • Invests $65 million over 6 years to support the Department’s apparatus needs to replace its aging fleet, including:
    • $43.5 million to advance the construction of a new Fleet Maintenance Facility
    • $7.45 million to purchase five new ladder trucks in FY20
    • $3.9 million to purchase ten new ambulances in FY20
  • Sustains funding for the third year of the “Right Care, Right Now” Nurse Triage Line, which reduces 911 misuse for non-emergency healthcare needs

Promotes Fair Elections and Government Accountability

  • Dedicates $3.2 million to fully fund the District’s new Fair Elections Program for publicly-financed elections beginning in the 2020 election
  • Moves the District’s primary election to June 2, 2020, expands early voting, and creates more flexibility for District voters to return their absentee ballots
  • Invests $160,000 in the Board of Elections to increase pay for poll workers and to hire temporary workers to improve the processing of absentee ballots
  • Supports the Office of Open Government by funding a new attorney to enforce the Open Meetings Act and promote transparency in District government operations

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