(WASHINGTON, DC) – Mayor Vincent C. Gray, Superior Court Chief Judge Lee Satterfield, DC Public Defender Service Director Avis Buchanan, Elder James Jenkins and 2007 Safe Surrender participant Willie Jones announced the Safe Surrender press conference in front of the H. Carl Moultrie Courthouse this morning. Also joining them on the podium were Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Paul Quander, Acting U.S. Marshal Thomas Hedgepeth, U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen, Pretrial Services Agency Director Susan Schaffer and U.S. Parole Commission Chairman Isaac Fulwood.
The D.C. Safe Surrender program is an opportunity for persons who have outstanding bench warrants for non-violent felonies or misdemeanors in DC to surrender voluntarily at the Moultrie Courthouse. DC Safe Surrender recognizes that many persons have bench warrants because they failed to appear for a court hearing or violated conditions of probation or parole, and they now want to resolve the matter and move forward with their lives. The program’s goal is to reduce the number of outstanding bench warrants. The program provides persons with a way to turn themselves in without the risk of being arrested at home, in front of their family and children, or during a routine traffic stop. Over 500 people turned themselves in during a similar program in 2007, with all but 10 going home that same day.
“Providing for safe communities is one of my administration’s top priorities, and the Safe Surrender program helps make the District of Columbia safer by encouraging those wanted for non-violent crimes to do the right thing,” said Mayor Gray. “It represents a win-win proposal for our justice system and for the accused.”
“DC Safe Surrender is an initiative focused on increasing public safety, and we hope to build on the success of the 2007 program,” Chief Judge Satterfield said. “By taking responsibility for their actions, participants of Safe Surrender can show their friends, family and the judge that they are taking the appropriate steps towards becoming responsible members of the community. I encourage everyone with an outstanding bench warrant to turn themselves in.”
The DC Safe Surrender program will take place on three consecutive Saturdays, August 13, August 20, and August 27, 2011, from 9:30 am – 4:30 pm For more information, including a list of those with bench warrants eligible for the program, please visit www.dcsafesurrender.org.
Safe Surrender is a partnership between the DC Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, the DC Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, the DC Public Defender Service, the DC Superior Court, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice, the Metropolitan Police Department, the District’s Office of the Attorney General, the D.C. Pretrial Services Agency, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Parole Commission and the U.S. Marshals Service.