Decriminalize Status Offenses

Criminalizing youth behavior such as staying out late, missing school, and running away traps children in state systems that cause unjustifiable harm and does not increase public safety. Instead of creating court cases and bringing Black children before a judge for defying authority in typical and non-violent ways, the District should ensure children have sufficient resources to support and protect them in the community. 

Consistent with recommendations from the Juvenile Justice Advisory Group, the D.C. Police Reform Commission, and advances in neuroscience, the District should decriminalize status offenses and treat youthful behavior with care rather than state punishment.