When a major prison for Washington, D.C., convicts was closed, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons promised to house displaced inmates no more than 500 miles away. But 30 percent of them are farther than that, some in California and Texas. City officials and inmate advocates say there is less repeat criminality when prisoners can keep in closer touch with their families.
The Washington Post reports that in 2000, 12 percent of D.C. inmates were in prisons farther than 500 miles from the city. In 2001, the number climbed to 17 percent. D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey has attributed a recent increse in homicides, in part, to the large numbers of ex-convicts returning to the streets after prison.
One woman must take a two-day bus trip to see her son in Leavenworth Prison, more than 900 miles.
Eleanor Holmes Norton, the capital’s delegate in Congress, will seek a hearing on the issue.