DC Criminal Defense Lawyer

Who’s Looking Out for D.C. Inmates?


Being sentenced to prison in the District of Columbia is unlike being sentenced in any other state. If you commit a felony in D.C. and are given a prison sentence, you will be serving your time in a federal facility. For many people, this means spending your sentence hundreds of miles from the nearest friends and family, and it means an utter sense of aloneness. But, one D.C. group is working to ensure these inmates know someone’s got their back.

The D.C. Corrections Information Council is small, very small. With only three council members who all work on a volunteer basis,  it has its work cut out for it. From 2005 and 2012, the board had no members, so really, it’s doing better now than ever before.

Security Ceilings - Ouachita River Correctional Unit, Malvern, ARThe CIC, as it’s commonly called, has one full-time staffer and a budget of only $130,000. The council works to keep an eye on the facilities across the country holding D.C. inmates.

According to the Washington Post, three out of four African American men in the District will serve prison time. Two-thirds of them are housed in 100 different federal institutions, from PA to CA. Over 1,000 of these D.C. inmates are housed more than 500 miles away from home, a world away.

The idea of the CIC is to be an advocate for these inmates in federal custody, to visit the prisons and report on conditions. That can be difficult when you have no real authority, however.

The CIC is a municipal (city) agency. This means it really doesn’t have the authority to drop by federal prisons unannounced. But, it seems prisons and local organizations have been accommodating.

The group has attached itself to local advocates and groups that are designed to help offenders coming home from a prison stint. They are also trying to get involved with the families of the incarcerated and the communities they come from.

But, people don’t know about them and they are struggling to get more attention. At their most recent public meeting, only 10 people showed up.

People, largely minority men, are being locked up for nonviolent offenses. They are serving time in federal facilities for drug crimes. And then they are being turned loose without the support that’s needed to get a firm foothold after incarceration. Organizations like this one can help.

Ideally, you don’t go to prison. But, if you are charged with a crime in Washington D.C., it’s a real possibility. Contact our offices today to discuss the nature of your charges and how we might be able to help.

photo by: Gordon Inc
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This entry was posted on Thursday, February 7th, 2013 at 11:52 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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