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Washington Lawyers' Committee and Covington Release Report on Challenges Faced by D.C. Women in Prison

March 25, 2016

Eric Holder,

A report focusing on the overwhelming challenges faced by D.C. women who are incarcerated was released by The Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs and Covington.

The report, titled “D.C. Women in Prison: Continuing Problems and Recommendations for Change,” provides an in-depth look at the experience of women who are incarcerated both in the local Correctional Treatment Facility and in federal prisons, where many D.C. women convicted of felonies serve their sentences.

“This is a topic that should be of real concern to District of Columbia and federal policymakers and correctional authorities. Improving conditions for D.C. women who are incarcerated will help to enhance public safety, reduce public expenditures, and rebuild communities in the District,” said Eric Holder, Covington Partner and former Attorney General.

The 94-page report, which includes a discussion of eleven recommendations, primarily focuses on four aspects of incarceration that are particularly critical for D.C. women:

  • Contact with children and families
  • Medical care
  • Education, job training, and life skills programs
  • Sexual abuse and harassment 

Carolyn Corwin

Carolyn Corwin, Senior Counsel, led Covington’s efforts. Carolyn focused on assembling and organizing information on the correctional facilities in which D.C. women are housed and demographic information about the women, on describing the overall landscape for D.C. women entering prison, and on education and job training programs in the facilities. Several Covington associates took responsibility for other subjects. Lucy Andrzejewski focused on issues involving children and family; Phil Peisch handled the subject of medical care provided in the facilities; and Meghan Monaghan focused on sexual abuse and harassment.

“This report—the fourth in a series addressing significant issues affecting our local criminal justice system—highlights a set of problems confronting women prisoners that has long deserved public scrutiny,” said Washington Lawyers’ Committee’s Executive Director Rod Boggs.

The report is the product of a review that brought together legal, civil rights, and criminal justice experts, as well as senior federal and District of Columbia judges.

The full report can be found here.

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