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$55,000 Settlement in DC Jail Prisoner’s Confinement Conditions Suit

The District of Columbia (DC) paid $55,000 to settle prisoner Lawrence Caldwell’s lawsuit that asserted various unconstitutional conditions at the DC Jail.

In a clear, detailed pro se complaint, Caldwell outlines numerous conditional factors that violate his constitutional rights. He begins by outlining the general conditions and sanitation conditions that existed at the DC Jail in 2001.

That outline speaks to the overcrowded conditions caused by two times as many people being in the space designed for, infestation of mice and roaches, poor ventilation, lack of laundry facilities and clothing exchange, water so hot in the shower it will burn one, only 1 hour of recreation weekly, and no programs or education opportunities. The overcrowding, television, and general design of the facility create an unhealthy noise level that causes sleep deprivation.

Caldwell then describes the failure of the Jail to treat his glaucoma, basal cell cancer, and allow him provisions for his back condition. In a previous lawsuit, Caldwell was awarded $175,000 for the failure to treat his glaucoma and basal cell cancer, noted the district court in a memorandum opinion on attorney fees in the instant case.

He further details attempts to process retaliatory transfers for his exercise of grievances and court access. Finally, he complained of the inadequate law library.
Caldwell accepted a $55,000 settlement offer on January 28, 2003. The court awarded him $31,177.30 in attorney fees and costs, assessing a $5,500 allocation of his award towards those fees. See: Caldwell v. Washington, USDC, District of Columbia, Case No. 1:01CV1989.

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Related legal case

Caldwell v. Washington