Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - 12

GOVERNMENT & GAVEL

KARL A. RACINE & MINA MALIK
Reforming D.C.'s Juvenile Justice System
By Erika Winston

C

riminal justice reform is in full swing at the Office of the
Attorney General for the District of Columbia (OAG). Under
the leadership of Attorney General Karl A. Racine, the office is
seeking to reduce recidivism among juveniles within the District's
criminal justice system. "The Office of the Attorney General shares
jurisdiction for criminal matters with the United States Attorney's
Office," Racine explains. "The OAG exercises jurisdiction over
the prosecution of juveniles and a range of adult misdemeanors.
We focus on doing everything we can to make the city safer
and ways we might improve the lives of vulnerable young people
who may find themselves in the criminal justice system. We look
to be creative in how the office charges young folks who have
been charged with lower-level offenses, but who would benefit
from interventions."

MALIK: THE
SEASONED PRO
These efforts are coordinated within
the Public Safety Division of OAG,
and Racine has chosen a seasoned
prosecutor with criminal justice
reform experience to spearhead
them. Deputy Attorney General
Mina Malik joined OAG in August,
filling a vacancy left by the tragic
and sudden death of Deputy
Attorney General Tamar Meekins.
A graduate of American University
Washington College of Law, Malik is no stranger to the District's criminal justice
system, having worked as an investigator for the D.C. Public Defender Service
during the early stages of her legal career.
Most recently, Malik was a lecturer at Harvard Law School, where she also
served as senior advisor for the Fair Punishment Project. Prior to her time
at Harvard, she served as executive director of the New York City Civilian
Complaint Review Board, the nation's largest police oversight agency. During
her tenure, she dramatically reduced investigation times, implemented proactive prosecution methods, and launched transparency initiatives. As special
counsel to the Brooklyn District Attorney, Malik assisted in implementing
innovative prosecution policies, particularly regarding conviction review and
low-level marijuana possession. She was also instrumental in reforming the
prosecution of domestic violence, sex crimes, and crimes against children.
"We wanted to recruit and identify a seasoned professional with a track record
of implementing progressive programs. We wanted to bring change in a lasting
way to our juvenile justice system, and who better to go to? As head of our
Public Safety Division, Ms. Malik will lead OAG's efforts to prevent and interrupt
violence in the community, support vulnerable youth, and implement smart,
data-driven reforms that make the District safer. We are very pleased to
welcome her to our team," Racine says.
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WASHINGTON LAWYER

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APRIL/MAY 2018

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KEEPING KIDS
OUT OF TROUBLE
"Watching Attorney General
Racine and the new initiatives
he has implemented made this
opportunity very attractive to
me," Malik says. "There is this
wave of newly elected prosecutors who are leading the way
on criminal justice reform and
progressive policies. Tough on
crime policies have not been
effective. What we've been
doing in the past has not been
working. Attorney General Racine has a lot of initiatives to combat that."
Alternatives to Court Experience (ACE) is one such initiative. This diversion
program enables OAG to partner with the Department of Human Services
in identifying the underlying issues that likely contributed to a juvenile's
involvement in criminal activity. "Through these assessments, we can
identify the needs these kids have and match them with services that may
provide an opportunity to learn, develop, grow and mature," Racine says.
These juveniles receive various services, including family therapy, anger
management, and mental health treatment. "The ultimate goal is so the kids
will not recidivate. I am happy to report that, since ACE's inception, we've
diverted about 1,800 to 2,000 kids. Over 78 percent of the kids completing
the ACE Program have not been reincarcerated. That is a pretty striking
result."
Racine is also enthusiastic about the newly implemented Restorative
Justice Program, which is the first of its kind in a prosecutorial agency.
The program brings the victim and youth offender together to provide
support and closure. "Victims often feel they are afterthoughts, or they
don't feel that the process values their participation," Racine says. He
says the program is only invoked if the victim agrees and wants to participate. "We have a victim who wants to share how they were harmed
and a defendant giving their perspective of how and why the incident
happened. We focus on acceptance of responsibility and suggestions
on how the offender can make it right. Offenders are then monitored
for six months to ensure that they comply with the conditions laid out
within the program."
"It's been so successful so far that we are partnering with the United States
Attorney's Office next spring to include 18-to-24-year-olds with misdemeanor, low level-nonviolent offenses, where the victim is amenable," Malik
says. "The point of interaction is an incredibly important time period. If the
intervention isn't meaningful, these young people will continue to commit
more serious crimes."
Racine calls this a smart-on-crime approach, which uses prevention strategies to deter violence and promote community safety. "You can have a
tough on crime policy that promises to fully prosecute," Racine says, "or you
can have a policy that makes distinctions among people who come into the


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018

Your Voice
From Our President
Calendar of Events
Government & Gavel
Feature: Our Future Begins Here
Super Lawyers
Feature: Risky Business
Member Spotlight
Worth Reading
Media Bytes
Attorney Briefs
Ask the Ethics Experts
Disciplinary Summaries
Community & Connections
Last Word
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - 1
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - 2
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - 3
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - 4
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - 7
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - 8
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - 9
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - 11
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - Government & Gavel
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - 13
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - Feature: Our Future Begins Here
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - 15
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - 16
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - 17
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - 18
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - 19
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - 20
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - 21
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - Super Lawyers
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - SL2
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Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - SL4
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - SL5
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - SL6
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - Feature: Risky Business
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - 23
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Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - Member Spotlight
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - 39
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - Media Bytes
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - Ask the Ethics Experts
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - 45
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - Community & Connections
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - 47
Washington Lawyer - April/May 2018 - Last Word
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