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DC Justice Lab: District Voters Overwhelmingly Support Revised Criminal Code Act

DC Justice Lab set out to gauge support for the Revised Criminal Code Act (RCCA) among voters in the District of Columbia. The RCCA aimed to modernize the District’s criminal code and establishes sentencing proportionate to the seriousness of crimes. HIT Strategies used a poll to quantify District voters’ attitudes.  

In the poll, HIT presented voters with a simple definition of the RCCA and asked them if they supported the legislation and if a candidate’s position on the RCCA impacted their vote choice. Additionally, we presented voters with individual criminal justice reform policies to get a more precise look at the popularity of each provision of the RCCA. When analyzing the results, we disaggregated voters by race, gender, age, and Ward of the city. 

HIT found that District voters overwhelmingly backed the RCCA and were more likely to vote for candidates who supported it. All major provisions of the RCCA received supermajority backing, though guaranteeing a right to a jury trial was the most popular provision at 93% support. This appetite for criminal justice reform extended across demographics, with strong majorities of District voters of all races, ages, genders, and Wards favoring the RCCA, candidates who backed it, and its individual policies. 

Armed with this information, DC Justice Lab could tout not only the moral righteousness of criminal justice reform and the RCCA—they could point to it as a political asset in the District.