which the Courts are expected to place on the Center exceed by well over 100 percent the capacity which the Center when stretched to its outermost limits can or will accept. This conclusion does not reflect any change in the present rate of turnover which is all too rapid.
The pressures from overcrowding result in a complete frustration of the Youth Corrections Act program. Not only are the correction authorities and the sentencing judges required to reach commitment determinations upon inadequate 5010(e) studies; the rehabilitation program of the Center itself is stultified. Vocational, educational and therapeutic facilities are increasingly less effective to handle the numbers presented within the time periods available. The volume of new offenders is such that the Center has been forced to release inmates at all too early a date. Often individuals are sent to half-way houses or other community facilities before they are ready. Such premature release defeats treatment objectives and encourages recidivism. The report submitted by the Mayor-Commissioner states that the Department of Corrections considers the number of persons in the half-way houses or community treatment centers as far too many and that "roughly half that number ought not to be in that center [i.e., the community treatment center] but ought to be in the Youth Center."
About 80 percent of offenders committed to the Center have a drug problem in some degree and yet neither the Center nor the community centers have personnel or facilities that are devoted to the prevention of drug use. Indeed there was evidence at the hearing that continued drug usage by an offender does not even prevent release into the community from half-way houses.
While there have undoubtedly been some advances made at the Youth Center in terms of shortening the program of treatment and rehabilitation, the significant reduction in time spent, particularly by sophisticated defendants committed under the Youth Corrections Act, illustrates the pressures of overcrowding and the consequent lack of adequate rehabilitative care. Robbery, rape and homicide commitments in 1967 averaged 32 months from sentence to parole. By 1970, the figure was down to approximately 11 months and in 1971, at the most eight to ten months. Analysis of information submitted by the U.S. Attorney based on Police Department data received in turn from the correction authorities shows numerous cases of serious offenders committed under the Youth Act for armed robbery, rape, murder or aggravated assaults who spent periods in the Youth Center substantially less than six months, having been sentenced to periods of six, eight, ten or fifteen years, and in some cases such defendants were in the Youth Center only for a period of two or three months.
The Center's operations also suffer from the fact that there has been undue intermingling of highly sophisticated, hardened defendants with defendants who have committed non-violent offenses and have not an experience of frequent incarceration in juvenile or other youth facilities.
In spite of the overcrowding the Center has rarely rejected an offender because of his criminal activities. Nor has there been any effort to be highly selective when recommending youthful offenders for incarceration. While some co-mingling of the sophisticated and unsophisticated defendant may always occur, the present program is made far more difficult and less effective as the numbers in both categories increase and inmates are crowded more and more on top of each other under conditions which minimize the possibility of individualized treatment or control. This situation presently totally defeats efforts of sentencing judges to isolate for special handling defendants whose age or background indicates special rehabilitative needs.
In contrast, the Federal Youth Corrections Act system has established several facilities and can differentiate among types of offenders by age and offense. This desirable flexibility is not available in the District of Columbia. While other Youth Centers operated throughout the country under the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons are full, there is much less overcrowding, the number of violent and sophisticated offenders committed is minimal and yet the period of incarceration is substantially longer.
It is also significant that these other institutions, unlike the Lorton Youth Center, recognize a clear distinction between 5010(b) and 5010(c) commitments, holding 5010(c) commitees a longer period of time.
At the Lorton Youth Center there is no consideration whatsoever given by the authorities to the fact that individuals committed under 5010(c) sentences have been judicially determined to require longer treatment. Moreover, in the federal institutions, no individual is released to the community without the approval of the Board of Parole,
while here the Center does not always consult the Board of Parole and the Court's experience indicates it may act contrary to the Board's wishes in releasing to halfway houses after brief incarceration.
The local correction authorities believe that in order to meet the needs of the Youth Corrections Act in this community it will be necessary to construct one and possibly two additional facilities, each with a projected inmate census of 500. Requests to the Congress for funds to establish the first additional facility have been rejected. No construction of additional facilities is authorized or in progress. The Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons has no available facilities to take any of the load from the District of Columbia.
All persons sentenced under the Act are committed to the custody of the Attorney General and it is the ultimate responsibility of the Federal and City authorities to furnish the necessary facilities. This responsibility falls jointly upon the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the Mayor-Commissioner of this City.
The proper administration of justice, the requirements of the statute and the interests of this community demand that adequate facilities promptly be made available. The shortage of proper accommodations cannot be tolerated any longer. There is need of both an interim and a long-term solution.
The Court accordingly directs the Attorney General, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the Mayor-Commissioner jointly to submit in writing within two weeks an interim plan for alleviating the present congestion consistent with the requirements of the Act. The interim plan should specify what steps will be taken and the date by which each phase of the plan will be accomplished. The plan should at the very least accomplish the following:
(a) Create additional temporary facilities for at least 300 male inmates by April 1, 1972.
(b) Provide facilities also sufficient to enable authorities to conduct all 5010(e) studies at a suitable location or locations other than the D.C. Jail by January 1, 1972.
These new facilities may be minimum security facilities if sufficient to accommodate non-violent offenders, including the bulk of offenders in the age group 16-18.
In directing that an interim plan for creation of additional facilities be submitted, the Court has carefully considered elaborate materials presented for the record on behalf of the Mayor-Commissioner. It appears that a detailed analysis of the available capacity of correctional facilities and institutions has already been made by a special task force. On the basis of this analysis, after projecting expected caseloads, the decision has been made administratively that the present facilities at Occoquan could be turned into an additional Youth facility by transferring individuals in the alcoholic rehabilitation program. This and related adjustments would provide a Youth Center facility capable of increasing the present total capacity to 625. This would be sufficient to handle the projected 1972 Youth Center population, although, of course, would not take care of the long-term need. Whether this plan or some variable of this plan is chosen is, however, entirely a matter for consideration of the appropriate authorities.
Since any interim solution which will be proposed will not fully alleviate the situation, it appears necessary that this Court take some emergency steps consistent with the realities of the problem which will improve administration under the Act. The following has been recommended for consideration of the full Court.
Where the individual United States District Court Judge concludes that a defendant may be amenable for final commitment under the Youth Corrections Act, the following should occur:
(1) No defendant shall be so committed under the Youth Corrections Act without a 5010(e) study.