Policy Solutions for DC Prisoners?
May 19, 2012 4:04 PM Subscribe
I'm doing a research and policy project on DC prisoners. I'm looking for information and personal stories on what the situation is like for DC prisoners serving time in the federal system. I'm also interested in information on conditions in the former DC Prison at Lorton. I'd like to compare conditions before and after the closure of Lorton and make some recommendations for how to improve outcomes for DC inmates, both during their sentences and after release.
posted by Amy Phillips to Law & Government (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Basically, until the late 1990s, people convicted of crimes in DC served their time at a DC-run prison in Lorton, VA. In 1997, Lorton Prison was ordered closed by Congress, and in the ensuing years, DC's inmates were sent to Bureau of Prisons facilities all over the country. The plan closed down a reportedly terrible facility and allowed Fairfax County to regain control of some pretty valuable land. However, it also meant that DC prisoners now live hundreds or thousands of miles from home, isolated from loved ones and supportive services. I want to know more about the closure of Lorton and the effect that it has had on the prison population.
I've done the obvious internet searches and some in-depth research (e.g., reading Congressional hearing testimony and interviewing folks from the local prisoners' rights community). But I'm interested in learning more about what conditions were really like at the former Lorton Prison and what they're like now for DC prisoners serving time in federal Bureau of Prisons facilities. I'm specifically interested in any information about expert recommendations for improving the fate of DC's incarcerated citizens.
Among the issues that are of particular interest to me about the incarceration situation are family separation and visitation, reintegration after release, services available (or not available) to DC inmates under each of the two incarceration regimes, post-release situations for DC inmates. I'm also interested in information about Fairfax County's view of having Lorton Prison there and the involvement of the local community in having the prison shut down.
So, what's the best solution to dealing with DC's prisoners (assuming that simply imprisoning fewer people is off the table, at least for now)? What should I read and who should I talk to in order to get the best possible sense of what policies are helping or hurting? Are there people who are actively working now to get DC prisoners out of BOP, and if so, what do they recommend?
Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.