Washington Lawyers’ Committee and Covington Release Report on Conditions of Confinement for Prisoners in D.C.

“Mold growth, water penetration through the walls, and leaking plumbing fixtures are just some of the deteriorating conditions that contribute to what the Department of Health called ‘serious to extremely serious’ problems at the nearly 40-year old D.C. Jail. The status quo is unacceptable,” said Kevin Glandon, Covington & Burling attorney.

The daily population of D.C. Department of Corrections facilities exceeds 2,000 prisoners. The report titled “D.C. Prisoners: Conditions of Confinement in the District of Columbia” examines the deteriorating state of D.C. prison facilities; widespread problems of mental health treatment and suicide prevention; and concerns about the for-profit Corrections Corporation of America, which runs one of the two primary D.C. detention facilities.

“This report shines a most revealing and long overdue light on a most serious set of problems. It demands the urgent attention of our city’s leaders and everyone concerned about basic standards of decency for all our residents,” said Deborah Golden, D.C. Prisoners’ Rights Project Director

The 50-page report includes recommendations to:

  • Close the Central Detention Facility and the Correctional Treatment Facility and construct a new, safer, more effective facility
  • Expand the Secure Residential Treatment Program
  • Correct deficiencies in suicide prevention and youth confinement
  • Conduct a review of training of correctional officers tasked with specialized functions related to mental health or the juvenile unit
  • Revise current policies restricting “Good Time Credits”–a program which reduces sentences for successfully completing academic, vocational, and rehabilitation programs
  • Return management of the Correctional Treatment Facility to District control

The recommendations are the product of a study that brought together legal, civil rights and criminal justice experts, as well as senior federal and District of Columbia judges.

Media Highlights:


An Pham, (202) 662-6575, apham@cov.com

Deborah Golden, (202) 319-1040, Deborah_Golden@washlaw.org

ABOUT THE WASHINGTON LAWYERS’ COMMITTEE: The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs (WLC) is a public interest legal organization with extensive experience in civil rights litigation, including with respect to deaf inmates across the country.

ABOUT COVINGTON & BURLING LLP: In an increasingly regulated world, Covington & Burling LLP helps clients navigate their most complex business problems, deals, and disputes. Founded in 1919, the firm has more than 850 lawyers in offices in Beijing, Brussels, London, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, Silicon Valley, and Washington.


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