Parole board reverses transfer of DC Jail’s new ANC commissioner

The District’s newest Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner will remain at the D.C. Jail for now, after an effort to transfer him to a federal prison in Pennsylvania was reversed.

Joel Caston was elected last June to represent the jail’s 1,400 inmates and the residents of a nearby women’s shelter.

Some D.C. Council members argued that Caston should not be transferred since he mentors young men in the jail.

After learning of Caston’s planned transfer to the Bureau of Prisons, Ward 6 council member Charles Allen said his office was working to help Caston and asked his supporters to join the effort.

“Joel’s story is harrowing, but it’s also a great example of the inherent unfairness that D.C. doesn’t have control of its corrections for the majority of residents who are incarcerated,” Allen said in a Facebook post.

“Transferring Joel, and upending his service plan, his work as a mentor to young men in the D.C. Jail, and as he prepares to come home and try to be successful, is unquestionably harmful.”

Caston’s lawyer said Tuesday that the U.S. Parole Commission had reversed its decision to transfer him. He was among about 400 inmates slated to be transferred this week to a federal prison in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, after the U.S. Marshals found unsafe and unsanitary conditions in the D.C. jail.

Caston is scheduled to testify to the D.C. Council Wednesday on unsanitary and unsafe conditions at the jail, which has come under fire after an inspection uncovered systemic failures at the institution.

Lauren Hamilton

Lauren Hamilton is an Associate Producer at WTOP and a graduate of the University of Maryland. She enjoys covering the intersection of arts, culture and social justice in local communities. She began as an intern with WTOP in the summer of 2021.

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