The following is a statement from Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen, Chair of the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, after learning inmates at the Department of Corrections’ Correctional Treatment Facility have had limited access to the outdoors for the past several months:
“I am very disappointed to learn the DC Department of Corrections has not allowed incarcerated men and women in the Correctional Treatment Facility regular outdoor access for upwards of eight months – ostensibly due to rain and snow. Keeping detained individuals from access to fresh air and natural light is dehumanizing, and it goes against the mission of DOC to successfully rehabilitate these residents. Further, I am frustrated DOC has made no efforts to provide a detailed explanation to the public and the Council why these inmates have been denied outdoor access. I have sent additional oversight questions to DOC and will be having an in-depth conversation with the agency at its scheduled annual oversight hearing on March 1.
Of course, these issues also speak to the need for a new DC Jail, which is a massive undertaking. In the past year’s budget, the Council’s Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety funded an initial study on the design and planning for a new correctional facility that will better rehabilitate inmates and reduce recidivism. These issues highlight the larger challenges the District is wrestling with around successful re-entry into our community post-incarceration, which we know makes us safer.”