WASHINGTON – Yesterday the U.S. Marshals Service announced the transfer of 400 residents in federal custody at the Central Detention Facility at the D.C. Jail to a prison in Pennsylvania after finding inhumane conditions and treatment of incarcerated people at CDF. The Jail is operated by the D.C. Department of Corrections.

The ACLU of the District of Columbia is co-counsel with the Public Defender Service of D.C. and Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP in Banks v. Booth, a legal challenge to the unconstitutional conditions and lack of access to medical treatment for residents of the D.C. Jail during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following can be attributed to Arthur Spitzer, Senior Counsel, ACLU-DC:

“While 400 federal defendants are moved to Pennsylvania, the hundreds of residents remaining in D.C. DOC custody will continue to suffer the appalling treatment the U.S. Marshals found in their inspections unless DOC makes immediate and dramatic improvements.

“The systemic racism within our carceral system could not be more stark: it’s lost on no one that it took the complaints of white January 6 defendants for officials to finally act in response to the inhumane conditions and treatment inside the Jail, which advocates and family members of the mostly Black residents at the Jail have been raising for years.

“Our lawsuit against the D.C. Department of Corrections—on behalf of everyone incarcerated at the Jail—was the result of similarly horrific conditions inside the jail during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the denial of prompt medical care to residents with COVID symptoms, lack of proper screening of visitors coming into the facility, and lack of access to adequate personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies.

“We urge Mayor Muriel Bowser, Deputy Director for Public Safety and Justice Christopher Geldart, and DOC Director Quincy Booth to move as many residents to the Central Treatment Facility as possible and immediately address the urgent health and safety needs at CDF, which clearly fall below minimum constitutional standards. And we will continue through our Banks case to fight for the right of everyone detained in DOC facilities to humane treatment.”

For more information about Banks v. Booth, click here.