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At the very least, such a legislative strategy would force D.C. officials, contractors and DYRS employees to view teen and young-adult offenders through the lens of the District’s Youth Rehabilitation Act, which, enacted in 1985 and toyed with in recent years, simply mandates that adult criminals be separated from younger offenders.

Laws and policies that punish older criminals but treat 19- and 20-year-olds with tough love isn’t justice.

It’s an unjust way of tricking the public into thinking that teen thugs and young killers can be rehabilitated if treated with kid gloves.

Now that’s scary.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at