The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

D.C. Jail:
Appalling Treatment

Nov 22, 2021

Federal marshals transferred around 400 prisoners of the D.C. jail to a federal penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. The marshals say they are removing prisoners from horrible conditions inspectors found during an inspection in October.

Activists point out that prisoners have raised the same problems for years. Issues like food and drinking water withheld from prisoners to punish them. Water shut off so toilets couldn’t flush for days. Feces and urine on walls and not cleaned for months. Mold. Nearly 100 guard positions vacant.

In fact, federal marshals are punishing D.C. by removing the prisoners from a deal negotiated in 2015 where the federal government pays the city $228 per inmate per day to house prisoners accused of federal offenses. This 23-million-dollar per year deal has made up one tenth of the city’s “corrections department” budget.

Being relocated to Lewisburg—nearly 200 miles from D.C.—will make it harder for these 400 prisoners to be visited by their families and lawyers. Officials didn’t fix any problems. They made problems worse, all so they could make themselves look good in front of the cameras.