University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Inmates of D.C. Jail v. Jackson JC-DC-0002
Docket / Court 75-1668 ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Jail Conditions
Special Collection Court-ordered receiverships
Attorney Organization ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU National Prison Project
Case Summary
On October 7, 1975, post-trial detainees at the District of Columbia jail brought a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia alleging that various conditions at the jail were unconstitutional. The plaintiff class was ... read more >
On October 7, 1975, post-trial detainees at the District of Columbia jail brought a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia alleging that various conditions at the jail were unconstitutional. The plaintiff class was represented by the National Prison Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. On May 24, 1976, the District Court (Judge William Benson Bryant) granted the plaintiffs' motion for partial summary judgment by holding that the conditions and practices at the jail constituted cruel and unusual punishment. Inmates, D.C. Jail v. Jackson, 416 F.Supp. 119 (D.D.C. 1976). The jail was found to be overcrowded, without proper care for inmates with psychiatric problems, lacking in recreation opportunities, having overly restrictive visitation rights along with generally unsafe and unsanitary conditions. Judge Bryant also ordered the defendant jail officials to initiate action to correct these violations. Judge Bryant extended many of the District Court's findings from Campbell v. McGruder (JC-DC-001) which involved unconstitutional jail conditions for pre-trial detainees. The cases were, in fact, consolidated for some time, and therefore many of the relevant documents appear in both case files.

Judge Bryant issued subsequent orders in July and August 1985, and the parties reached a stipulated agreement on August 22, 1985 to reduce the jail population. On March 11, 1987, Judge Bryant held the jail officials in civil contempt for violating provisions in those orders regarding Halfway House capacity, inmate classification and reductions in minimum sentences. Inmates of D.C. Jail v. Jackson, No. 1462-71, 1987 WL 8724 (D.D.C. Mar. 11, 1987). Judge Bryant imposed fines on the jail officials and ordered them to file bi-weekly compliance reports with the Court.

The District continued to find a pattern of constitutional violations and repeatedly issued orders to bring conditions at the D.C. jail into compliance. The D.C. jail was so recalcitrant in complying with the court-ordered reforms that Judge Bryant was prompted to state that the jail's lack of compliance bordered on bad faith. Transcript, Nov. 1, 1994 Hearing, Inmates of the D.C. Jail v. Jackson (No. 75-1668).

The docket for the case is available on PACER for all entries in the case after May 12, 1989. The docket mentions a Special Master, Grace Lopes, who was assigned to monitor the implementation of the District Court's orders. On November 6, 1997, Karen Schneider replaced Grace Lopes as the Special Master assigned to the case.

After passage of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), Judge Bryant awarded attorneys' fees at market rates to attorneys monitoring compliance with the District Court's orders, finding the PLRA inapplicable. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (Judge David Bryan Sentelle) reversed by holding that the PLRA's cap on attorney fee awards is applicable to all work performed after its effective date. Inmates of D.C. Jail v. Jackson, 158 F.3d 1357 (D.C. Cir. 1998). Judge Patricia McGowan Wald dissented by arguing that the PLRA's limitations on attorneys' fees was being applied retroactively because the case began before passage of the PLRA. On June 24, 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari. Inmates of D.C. Jail v. Edwards, 527 U.S. 1035 (1999).

On June 13, 2002, Judge Bryant stayed the population limitation imposed by court order. The case was dismissed on March 21, 2003, although some litigation continued after that date regarding attorneys' fees.

Tom Madison - 04/02/2006

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Content of Injunction
Crowding / caseload
Administrative segregation
Classification / placement
Recreation / Exercise
Sanitation / living conditions
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Totality of conditions
Type of Facility
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) D.C. Jail
Plaintiff Description All convicted persons confined in the District of Columbia Jail
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU National (all projects)
ACLU National Prison Project
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1976 - 2003
Case Closing Year 2003
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing JC-DC-0001 : Campbell v. McGruder (D.D.C.)
75-cv-01668-WBB (D.D.C.) 03/09/2004
JC-DC-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Amended Complaint 12/16/1975
JC-DC-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Order 12/18/1975 (D.D.C.)
JC-DC-0002-0002.pdf | Detail
Memorandum and Order 05/24/1976 (D.D.C.)
JC-DC-0002-0003.pdf | Detail
Memorandum and Order 05/24/1976 (416 F.Supp. 119) (D.D.C.)
JC-DC-0002-0026.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Consent Order 02/03/1984 (D.D.C.)
JC-DC-0002-0004.pdf | Detail
Memorandum and Order 07/15/1985 (D.D.C.)
JC-DC-0002-0005.pdf | Detail
Memorandum in Support of Joint Motion to Amend the Stipulation and Order of August 22, 1985 08/22/1985
JC-DC-0002-0008.pdf | Detail
Stipulation of the Parties to Reduce the Population at the D.C. Jail 08/22/1985
JC-DC-0002-0009.pdf | Detail
Order 03/11/1987 (1987 WL 8724) (D.D.C.)
JC-DC-0002-0028.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief 03/28/1990
JC-DC-0002-0023.pdf | Detail
Order 09/26/1990 (D.D.C.)
JC-DC-0002-0010.pdf | Detail
Order 03/04/1993 (D.D.C.)
JC-DC-0002-0011.pdf | Detail
Order Appointing Special Officer 04/20/1993 (D.D.C.)
JC-DC-0002-0012.pdf | Detail
Order 11/09/1993 (D.D.C.)
JC-DC-0002-0013.pdf | Detail
Consent Order 03/16/1994 (D.D.C.)
JC-DC-0002-0014.pdf | Detail
Notice of Filing 04/12/1994
JC-DC-0002-0015.pdf | Detail
Initial Remedial Plan for Mental Health Care, Medical Care and Compliance Monitoring at the District of Columbia Jail 10/11/1994 (D.D.C.)
JC-DC-0002-0016.pdf | Detail
Notice of Filing 12/16/1994
JC-DC-0002-0017.pdf | Detail
Order 01/27/1995 (D.D.C.)
JC-DC-0002-0018.pdf | Detail
Findings and Order Appointing Receiver 07/11/1995 (D.D.C.)
JC-DC-0002-0019.pdf | Detail
Order 08/03/1995 (D.D.C.)
JC-DC-0002-0020.pdf | Detail
Order 10/05/1995 (D.D.C.)
JC-DC-0002-0021.pdf | Detail
Consent Order 08/19/1997 (D.D.C.)
JC-DC-0002-0022.pdf | Detail
Opinion 10/30/1998 (158 F.3d 1357)
JC-DC-0002-0025.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum Decision 06/24/1999 (527 U.S. 1035)
JC-DC-0002-0027.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Beyond Community Standards and a Constitutional Level of Care? A Review of Services, Costs, and Staffing Levels at the Corrections Medical Receiver for the District of Columbia Jail 06/30/2000
JC-DC-0002-0024.pdf | Detail
Judges Bryant, William Benson (D.D.C.)
JC-DC-0002-0002 | JC-DC-0002-0003 | JC-DC-0002-0004 | JC-DC-0002-0005 | JC-DC-0002-0009 | JC-DC-0002-0010 | JC-DC-0002-0011 | JC-DC-0002-0012 | JC-DC-0002-0013 | JC-DC-0002-0014 | JC-DC-0002-0018 | JC-DC-0002-0019 | JC-DC-0002-0020 | JC-DC-0002-0021 | JC-DC-0002-0022 | JC-DC-0002-0026 | JC-DC-0002-0028 | JC-DC-0002-9000
Sentelle, David Bryan (W.D.N.C., D.C. Circuit)
Monitors/Masters Lopes, Grace Michele (District of Columbia)
JC-DC-0002-0016 | JC-DC-0002-0017 | JC-DC-0002-0023 | JC-DC-0002-9000
Schneider, Karen M. (District of Columbia)
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bronstein, Alvin J. (District of Columbia)
JC-DC-0002-0001 | JC-DC-0002-0008 | JC-DC-0002-9000
Crisman, Nancy C. (District of Columbia)
JC-DC-0002-0001 | JC-DC-0002-0026
Diaz, Teresa (District of Columbia)
Hickey, J. Patrick (District of Columbia)
JC-DC-0002-0004 | JC-DC-0002-0008 | JC-DC-0002-0014 | JC-DC-0002-0025
Hilleboe, Douglas (District of Columbia)
Jackson, Kimberly A. ()
Koren, Edward I. (District of Columbia)
Krakoff, Jere (District of Columbia)
McClymont, Mary E. (District of Columbia)
JC-DC-0002-0004 | JC-DC-0002-0008
More, John H. (District of Columbia)
Ney, Steven (Maryland)
JC-DC-0002-0004 | JC-DC-0002-0008
Nickles, Peter J. (District of Columbia)
Pemberton, Alan A. (District of Columbia)
Smith, Jonathan Mark (District of Columbia)
JC-DC-0002-0014 | JC-DC-0002-0023 | JC-DC-0002-0025
Defendant's Lawyers Ferren, John M. (District of Columbia)
Flyer, David A. (District of Columbia)
Love, Richard Stuart (District of Columbia)
JC-DC-0002-0014 | JC-DC-0002-0015 | JC-DC-0002-9000
Nedrich, Thomas R. (District of Columbia)
Payton, John A. (District of Columbia)
Prager, Lutz Alexander (District of Columbia)
Reischel, Charles L. (District of Columbia)
Utiger, Robert C. (District of Columbia)
Zielinski, Michael Edward (District of Columbia)
JC-DC-0002-0004 | JC-DC-0002-0015
Other Lawyers None on record

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