In 1978, inmates sentenced under the laws of the District of Columbia filed this class action lawsuit against the District of Columbia Department of Corrections in the District of Columbia Superior Court. The plaintiffs alleged that their rights had been violated when they were summarily and involuntarily transferred to institutions and facilities of the Federal Bureau of Prisons without a hearing.
A DC ordinance, DO 4810.1A, promulgated by the Council of the District of Columbia under the authority of D.C.Code Ann. § 24-442 (1981) provided:
Sentenced D.C.Code offenders in the following categories may be recommended by the Administrator for transfer to a BOP institution:
(1) Those who are severe management problems.
(2) Those whose lives are in jeopardy.
(3) Those who are protective custody cases because they have testified for the government, witnessed crimes in institutions or were former law enforcement officers.
(4) Those with commitment papers which indicate that the sentencing judge has recommended commitment to a BOP institution.
(5) Those who are known escape risks.
(6) Those who present a threat to the life of themselves or others.
(7) Individuals with severe psychological problems caused by distant separation from family and community ties.
In addition, the rule requires that an inmate be given an opportunity to state his objections to a proposed transfer for the record:
Upon receipt of notification that a DCDC resident is to be transferred to a BOP institution it shall be the responsibilities of the institution Administrator to ensure that the resident is afforded a hearing before a committee consisting of at least three institutional staff members and advised of the reason(s) for transfer. During the hearing the resident shall be afforded the opportunity to indicate any objections, and rationale for the same, regarding the transfer. Recorded minutes of the proceedings will be signed by the resident, members of the committee and filed in the resident's records jacket prior to transfer. Should a resident decline such a hearing, this too will be made a matter of record, signed by the resident and committee members (committee members will sign even if the resident refuses to do so), and filed in the resident's records jacket prior to transfer.
On September 20, 1982, the parties entered into a consent decree. According to the description in Trice v. Kerr, 578 F.Supp. 149 (1983), the decree required that D.C. offenders who had previously been transferred to the Federal system without a pre-transfer hearing receive such a hearing. Kristen Sagar - 09/03/2006