The D.C. Jail that houses male inmates has become hazardous and unsafe, prompting the need for a new jail to replace it, according to the Auditor of Washington, D.C.
A report released by D.C. Auditor Kathy Patterson has revealed violations such as mold growth, a leaking roof, and broken plumbing that has exacerbated the conditions of the facility.
According to the report, D.C. Department of Health has regularly “cited DOC for repeated and uncorrected violations of industry standards related to environmental conditions, including room temperatures, sanitary conditions, pests, broken fixtures, and inadequate lighting.”
The jail did not receive sufficient funding from the mayor or the D.C. Council for the past four years, according to the Auditor. Although the Department of Corrections (DOC) sought an average of $12.5 million each year which was needed for the required repairs and improvements, only an average of $3.1 million was provided, the report concluded. The jail houses an average daily population of 1,346 men.
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“The Mayor and Council should provide a capital budget for DOC that considers the risk of failing to address health and safety hazards identified by the DOH including the risk to the safety of inmates and staff and the risk of additional litigation,” the report states.
The News4 I-Team had also earlier reported several problems regarding the jail such as the lack of roof repairs and stifling heating arrangements.
In July 2016, Lester Irby, a 70-year-old inmate, had collapsed and died from heat wave inside the jail although the authorities denied responsibility. Other inmates had also complained about the unregulated heating system at the time.
Another 2015 report by the Washington Lawyers’ Committee and Covington & Burling had also found that the jail was in bad condition.
The Auditor’s report, in addition to suggesting increased city funding for jail repairs, also recommended the construction of a new jail to house the inmates.