Require All Cases Against Children to Start in Juvenile Court

The last 25 years of improving brain science has taught us that the human brain does not fully develop until our mid-twenties.1,2 However, current law allows D.C.’s unelected prosecutors to treat children as adults for certain crimes, without a hearing before a judge. Prosecutors are 18 times more likely to treat Black children as adults than White children. The District should treat all children in a developmentally appropriate manner. This bill would not prohibit charging children as adults, but would strengthen due process, by requiring a judge first consider individualized information about each child.

Status: Not passed in 2022. Must be reintroduced.