Public Defender Service Makes Efforts Toward Ordering the Release of all Individuals Detained at D.C. Jail

Caroline Brehman—CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images

By Clarissa Rios

WASHINGTON DC – The Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia has spent years working with other organizations to call out and challenge the D.C. Department of Corrections, which has a reputation for horrific treatment of Black and Brown individuals detained at the D.C. jail.

According to the PDS, Black and Brown individuals are placed in harsh conditions that include living in solitary confinement, dealing with a lack of running water, lack of proper medical care, failure to be provided with mental health treatment, and several other conditions.

These individuals are also victims of both physical and mental abuse at the hands of correctional officers, claim critics.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office and D.C. Superior Court judges have now become informed about the brutal mistreatment individuals have suffered in the D.C. jail because of the advocacy of the Public Defender Service.

However, change was not brought about until Jan. 6 when a federal judge became bothered by the way a defendant was being treated. As a result, the U.S. Marshals Service has now announced it is not allowing individuals under its care to be placed in the D.C. jail.

It was not until White people raised concerns over conditions that it prompted stakeholders to finally take action. But, despite all of the progress that has recently been made, prosecutors continue to seek detention in the D.C. Superior Court. Judges continue to hold individuals in the jail.

Avis E. Buchanan, Director, Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia stated, “We refuse to stay silent and call on the U.S. Attorney’s Office to stop seeking clients’ detention and the D.C. Superior Court judges to take immediate action and release clients who are facing these unconstitutional and inhumane conditions.”


About The Author

Clarissa is a sophomore at UC Santa Barbara majoring in Communication. She is an aspiring journalist.

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