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Court Terminates 32-Year Oversight of DC Jail

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

(Washington, DC) Today, the DC Department of Corrections received the court order signed by US District Court Judge William B. Bryant terminating the cases of Campbell v. McGruder and Inmates v. Jackson and ending 32 years of court oversight of the DC Jail. The order comes as a result of a hearing held Tuesday, March 18, 2003 in response to the District's motion to terminate one of the oldest cases in the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

Mayor Anthony A. Williams applauded the ruling by Judge Bryant, citing it as yet another example of the District's commitment to returning control of city services to agency management. Mayor Williams said, "Ending one of the longest-running court interventions in the city's history is truly a big win for the Department of Corrections, the Office of the Corporation Counsel, and the people of the District of Columbia."

Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Margret Nedelkoff Kellems added, "I especially commend Director Odie Washington and the entire Department of Corrections staff on their hard work and diligence to rebuild a jail system that passes the toughest muster of the federal court system."

Director Odie Washington views Judge Bryant's ruling as a major step toward permanent progress for the agency. Director Washington stated, "Terminating court oversight in agency operations is consistent with the forward, positive direction of the Department of Corrections in the last several years." The director added, "The ruling affirms our ability to manage the agency in a safe and secure manner while meeting all constitutional standards."

The March 18, 2003 court proceedings focused on environmental and safety conditions at the jail, which represented the last phase remaining in the 32-year court oversight of jail operations. A number of significant improvements, initiated as a part of a six-year, $30 million capital improvement plan, were major contributing factors to finally ending court intervention in the daily operations of the facility. In September 2000, the court returned control of medical and mental health services for inmates (which is now accredited) to the District. In July 2002, Judge Bryant terminated the inmate population limit that had been in place in these cases since 1985.