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D.C. Closes Lorton Prison

The 91-year-old Lorton Correctional Complex is closed. Forever. In November 2001, after a 16-year-old jail population cap was temporarily lifted, the last 300 prisoners were transferred from the nearby Fairfax County complex to the District's main jail in Washington, D.C.

On November 15th, U.S. District Court Judge William Bryant granted an unopposed motion to suspend until December 21st an earlier court order which limits the number of prisoners who may be held in the District's jail. Prison officials immediately went forward with plans to vacate the Lorton facility in advance of the December 31st deadline, saying they hoped to avoid any last-minute problems.

Prisoners' rights advocates who have struggled since 1971 to improve conditions in the District's jail did not oppose temporarily exceeding the population cap but urged that all prisoners receive adequate treatment.

Lorton's closing was mandated by the 1997 Revitalization Act that transferred the cost of operating the District's prisons to the federal government. Under the provisions of the act, the care and feeding of the District's prisoners will become the responsibility of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons that will eventually oversee the transfer of the District's prisoners to federal correctional institutions.

Source: The Washington Post .

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