Support Bill 22-408, The Fare Evasion Decriminalization Act of 2017

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When you get a parking ticket, you don't fear getting arrested. You pay a fine. Why should those who rely on WMATA to get around the city have to live any differently?

Currently, fare-evading in D.C. is categorized as a criminal offense. Those who are caught are subject to a fine of up to $300, arrest, and up to 10 days in jail. The Fare Evasion Decriminalization Act of 2017 (Bill 22-408) would reclassify these violations as civil offenses punishable by a fine of no more than $100, removing unnecessary and cruel criminal penalties.

We support this bill for three core reasons:

  1. Threatening residents with arrest, jail time, and a criminal record for failure to pay a $2 fare is excessively harsh and punitive.

  2. Criminalization of fare evasion is significantly linked to criminalization of poverty.

  3. Enforcement of fare evasion laws disproportionately impact communities of color.

Making fare evasion a civil offense can reduce the number of negative confrontations between law enforcement and D.C. residents, and there are significant costs associated with enforcing a low-level offense like fare evasion. Making fare evasion a civil offense is an emerging best-practice in many cities across the country.

We have a chance to help end the criminalization of poverty and reverse the tide of over-incarceration in the District of Columbia by making our voices heard to the D.C. council this week.

Please contact the D.C. Council today and tell them to support Bill 22-408, The Fare Evasion Decriminalization Act of 2017.

Message Recipients:
Phil Mendelson, Chairman, D.C. Council
Brianne Nadeau, Ward 1 Councilmember
Jack Evans, Ward 2 Councilmember
Mary Cheh, Ward 3 Councilmember
Brandon Todd, Ward 4 Councilmember
Kenyon McDuffie, Ward 5 Councilmember
Charles Allen, Ward 6 Councilmember
Vincent Gray, Ward 7 Councilmember
Trayon White, Ward 8 Councilmember
Elissa Silverman, At-large Councilmember
Robert C. White, At large Councilmember
Anita Bonds, At-large Councilmember
David Grosso, At large Councilmember

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Your Message

As a D.C. resident, I am writing to urge you to support Bill 22-408, the Fare Evasion Decriminalization Act of 2017.

This bill is about recognizing that no one should have to face arrest or jail time for not being able to afford a fare. The punishment is not proportionate to the offense. We also know that the criminalization of minor offenses like fare evasion is significantly linked to the criminalization of poverty, and that these types of laws disproportionately impact communities of color.

Currently, evading paying a metro fare in D.C. is categorized as a criminal offense. Those who are caught are subject to a fine up to $300, arrest, and up to 10 days in jail. The Fare Evasion Decriminalization Act of 2017 would re-classify these violations as civil offenses punishable by a fine of no more than $100, removing unnecessary and cruel criminal penalties.

Please put your support behind Bill 22-408 and help us bring about smarter, more equitable, and humane policy for the District of Columbia.

Sincerely,

[First Name] [Last Name]
[Your Address]

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