Vera Institute of Justice on the DC Council’s Emergency Public Safety Legislation

July 12, 2023
Contact: Michael Czaczkes,, 917-285-0277

Washington DC – Yesterday, the Council of the District of Columbia passed emergency public safety legislation, by a vote of 12-1, that likely will dramatically expand the use of pretrial detention. Nicholas Turner, president and director of the Vera Institute of Justice, issued the following statement:

“Everyone deserves to be safe, but we know and evidence shows that pretrial detention does not actually make communities safer. Rather than preventing future arrests, spending more than 23 hours in jail increases a person’s likelihood of being arrested in the future. In Washington, DC, courts, public safety—not wealth or money bail—has determined who is released before trial. Until now, judges have been empowered to consider the circumstances of individual cases. Further expanding a presumption of detention for people who are legally innocent to a larger swath of arrests will not strengthen communities nor improve public safety.”


About the Vera Institute of Justice
The Vera Institute of Justice is powered by hundreds of advocates, researchers, and policy experts working to transform the criminal legal and immigration systems until they’re fair for all. Founded in 1961 to advocate for alternatives to money bail in New York City, Vera is now a national organization that partners with impacted communities and government leaders for change. We develop just, antiracist solutions so that money doesn’t determine freedom; fewer people are in jails, prisons, and immigration detention; and everyone is treated with dignity. Vera’s headquarters is in Brooklyn, New York, with offices in Washington, DC, New Orleans, and Los Angeles. For more information, visit

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