New Mayoral Initiative Would Put Criminals Back On The Street Quicker

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D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser launched a new initiative on Monday that she hopes will get people out of jail quicker and give them job skills for when they are released.

“Like all residents in the District, returning citizens deserve a pathway to the middle class. Together, we will make sure they get one,” Bowser said in a statement about the new program.

Bowser’s new plan will allow pre-trial inmates incarcerated on misdemeanor charges to leave jail during the day so they can keep working at their jobs while they serve their sentences. The plan will also allow inmates to earn more “good time” credits each month if they behave well or participate in rehabilitative programs.

Earlier this summer, the city started a pilot work readiness program that will give inmates six weeks of workforce training before they are released from jail. The final eight weeks of the program will act as a hands-on experience for the inmates.

The inmates will participate in a “shadow day” with staff at Events DC, the city’s quasi-government sports authority, to help gain knowledge of work roles outside the jail.

“These programs and forthcoming legislation will give our returning citizens the tools they need to get back on their feet as they transition back into society,” Bowser said.

Police Chief Cathy Lanier and Bowser have attributed the city’s recent spike in violent crime and murders, in large part, to repeat offenders who had previously spent time in jail.

According to Bowser, only misdemeanor offenders who have jobs will be able to take advantage of the pre-trial release program. However, it was pointed out at a Monday press conference that some assault charges are misdemeanors and a lot of offenders have violent crime histories.

Bowser seemed a bit miffed when a reporter mentioned that the man who allegedly stabbed another man on Independence Day had been released from jail the prior day on misdemeanor charges.

“I think you know that that’s not what we’re referring to,” Bowser said.

Shortly after 12:30 p.m. July 4, Kevin Sutherland entered a train station on his way to meet some friends in the city. Shortly after, another man, Jasper Spires, entered the station, and the two waited for the train to arrive.

Once on the train, Spires tried to steal Sutherland’s cellphone, but Sutherland resisted and a struggle ensued. Spires allegedly stabbed Sutherland nearly 40 times before rushing off the train at the next stop.

Another man with a violent crime history is accused of shooting at a city bus last month.

Bijon Lamont Brown spent just four months in jail after he shot and wounded two teenagers near a basketball court in his neighborhood, and, just two months after his release from jail in July, police say he fired several shots at a Metro bus full of passengers.

A man was wounded in the incident and taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

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