Marshals moving inmates out of DC jail due to inhumane conditions

The U.S. Marshals Service has removed about half of inmates under their care from the D.C. jail. This comes after an inspection by the service that found clogged toilets, flooding and other substandard conditions for inmates.

In a statement provided to WTOP, the Marshals Service said about 200 of the 400 inmates housed at the Central Detention Facility have been transferred to a federal prison in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, and other facilities.

The 200 that remain at the CDF have not been transferred for a variety of reasons, including “pending court-related matters, emergency stay orders granted by the court and medical issues which prohibit transfer at this time, among others,” a spokesperson said.

The federal agency declared the move early last month after an inspection revealed substandard living conditions.

They conducted the unannounced inspection during the week of Oct. 18. In a release, the service said inspectors found that conditions at the CDF did “not meet the minimum standards of confinement as prescribed by the Federal Performance-Based Detention Standards.”

Later reports showed the team of deputy U.S. Marshals found “standing human sewage” in the toilets of inmates’ cells, and that some cells had water “shut off for days.”

During a hearing with D.C. lawmakers, the public defender’s office played multiple audio recordings with inmates.

“They have mold in the cell. The cell floods when it rains outside. That’s unacceptable,” one inmate said in a recording.

There were also reports that food and water were being withheld to punish incarcerated residents.

On Nov. 10, D.C. said the Department of Corrections entered into a Memorandum of Understanding  with the U.S. Marshals to improve conditions for inmates.

Marshals said a detention liaison at the CDF will monitor the improvements and ensure the ongoing care and safety of USMS prisoners held there.

The Marshals Service also inspected the Central Treatment Facility in D.C. but did not identify conditions that would necessitate the transfer of inmates from that facility. The CTF houses approximately 120 detainees in the custody of the USMS, including all the defendants stemming from the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

The Marshals said their initial inspection was prompted by concerns raised by federal judges.

In October, Director of the D.C. Department of Corrections Quincy Booth, and Wanda Patten, the warden of the D.C. jail, were held in contempt of court for the treatment of a Jan. 6 Capitol riot defendant.

A U.S. District Judge summoned the jail officials to court in the case of Christopher Worrell, a member of the Proud Boys who has been charged in the Jan. 6 attack, who was delayed medical care for a broken wrist.

He had been recommended for surgery in June but still hadn’t undergone the procedure as of mid-October, in part due to a delay by jail officials in turning over medical documents.

Worrell has been accused of attacking police officers with a pepper spray gel, and prosecutors have alleged he traveled to Washington and coordinated with Proud Boys leading up to the siege.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Luke Lukert

Since joining WTOP Luke Lukert has held just about every job in the newsroom from producer to web writer and now he works as a full-time reporter. He is an avid fan of UGA football. Go Dawgs!

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