Every day over the past three years, my colleagues and I have worked hard to establish an independent Office of the Attorney General (OAG) that zealously represents the interests of the District and is responsive to the needs of our city’s most vulnerable residents. After listening to the needs of District residents, we have prioritized issues such as preserving affordable housing, employing evidence-based juvenile justice reforms, protecting consumers, and safeguarding public integrity.
Our new annual report—In the Public Interest—highlights some of the major advances we’ve made over the past year in reaching these goals, including:
- Establishing the Public Advocacy Division: OAG launched a new Public Advocacy Division to amplify and expand our existing work to protect tenants, workers, and our residents’ values. This division is now more than 15 attorneys strong and has secured several wins that hold neglectful landlords accountable, return money to workers exploited by their employers, and fight federal overreach from the Trump administration.
- Setting Youth Up for Success and Enhancing Public Safety: OAG doubled down on strategies that reduce recidivism, increase public safety, and help our young people stay on track. To date, more than 1,800 youth have been diverted to the Alternatives to the Court Experience Program for rehabilitative services, and 78 percent of those youth have not been rearrested. OAG also expanded existing programs like Restorative Justice Conferencing, which brings crime perpetrators and victims together in conversation to hold offenders accountable, empower victims, and repair the harm caused by crime, and launched new programs like “I Belong Here” designed to combat truancy.
- Protecting Consumers: Our Office of Consumer Protection has secured more than $118 million in restitution for consumers and recoveries for the District in its first three years. This year the Office held companies accountable for data breaches due to negligence, stopped scammers that prey on immigrant communities, and helped grieving families obtain justice from a funeral home that broke the law.
I am proud of these and the many other accomplishments over the past year, and I hope that in reading this report you will learn more about what OAG does and how it can work for you. Whether it is using our educational materials to avoid a new scam or finding out how to report instances of wage theft, I want you to know how to access OAG services designed to help you.
Karl A. Racine