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District Of Columbia Moultrie Courthouse Deemed Seriously Substandard

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of the Inspector General (OIG), prepared a report revealing substandard conditions as well as safety and security inadequacies at the District of Columbia's (DC) H. Carl Moultrie I Courthouse.

In 1975, construction began on the courthouse which now houses the DC Superior Court and the Court of Appeals. The number of courtrooms has doubled in the 30 years since its construction. In 1988, Congress appointed a marshal from the United States Marshall Service (USMS) to aid in the court's effective operation and security and to totally segregate juvenile prisoners from adult prisoners. The Marshalls’s staff is responsible for operating cell block space in the courthouse where it houses various adult and juvenile prisoners, secure vehicle sally ports for transporting prisoners, and an administrative area.

Due to congressional concerns for safety, health and security arising from inadequate conditions in 2007, the OIG conducted a Facilities Improvement Feasibility study. Interviews with government personnel and civilians working on site, and inspections utilizing engineers from the Bureau of Prisons applying federal occupational health and safety requirement specification standards, found 166 failures to meet federal health, safety and security standards, some existing for more than 10 years. The inadequacies led to an attempted escape due to an inoperative sally port in 2006, which resulted in the escapee's death. Air filtration and mold conditions, together with various other inadequacies, have resulted in high turnover of deputy marshals, which affects public safety and court operations.

The DC Joint Committee formed by the court determined that $43 million in repairs are needed. The courthouse scored 59 percent on a 2007 security survey by the USMS, "the same as the average score in a 2006 USMS nationwide security survey of all the federal courthouses" needing renovation or that are over 10 years old. Numerous repairs and corrections were deemed urgent although it was noted that such conditions would continue for a long time. Initial repairs are completed and temporary alternative placement of the cell block was mentioned. Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General, Report No. I 2007 008 R, Sept. 2007.

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