How The Feds Threaten Washington, D.C., Gang Members


A “gang call-in” for 40 Washington, D.C., parolees and probationers is described in Sheriff Magazine of the National Sheriffs’ Association. “They know they are not here to face a formal criminal charge. They simply know that they have been ordered to appear in a federal courtroom,” says the magazine. Federal Judge Reggie Walton tells them: “You’ll be offered an opportunity to improve your lives. [] If you disregard this offfer, and if you continue to harm the citizens of Washington, then you will receive the full attention of a unified criminal justice system. [] You are on the radar screen.”

Gang call-ins stem in part from the efforts of criminologist David Kennedy of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. They were used in Boston in the mid-1990s. In Washington, they are part of the federal Project Safe Neighborhoods program. Those on probation or parole are told that if they do not stop their violent activities, the entire gang or crew will be the focus of police attention and will be brought into federal court. The magazine quotes in detail what the convicts are told by various officials, a defense attorney, and “roving leaders” who help young people. Says Paul Quander, offender supervision director: “This city is tired of the pop-pop-pop of gunfire gunning down the mothers of our children.”


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