The opinion of the court was delivered by: BRYANT
This case involves a class action brought by unconvicted pre-trial detainees incarcerated at the District of Columbia Jail in which plaintiffs seek a declaratory judgment that the conditions of their confinement violate their constitutional rights, and an order compelling defendants to discontinue the alleged violations. More specifically, plaintiffs contend that incarceration of pre-trial detainees at the District of Columbia Jail under conditions complained of constitutes cruel and unusual punishment as proscribed by the Eighth Amendment, and violates their rights to due process and equal protection of the law under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.
The defendants are the Mayor of the District of Columbia, the Director of the Department of Corrections and the Superintendent of the District of Columbia Jail.
The normal operating capacity for the Jail is 663 inmates. This was determined by the Department of Corrections in 1973 by counting the then-available bedspace. On December 11, 1974 the population of the Jail was 988 inmates and at the time of trial, was nearing 1000.
Cell Blocks 1 and 2 are divided into east and west sides, each containing five tiers. The cells are 6 x 7 feet, 10 inches, and 9 feet high. The cells in Blocks 3 and 4 are about the same size, but are equipped with doors rather than bars. In addition, portions of the Jail are utilized for dormitory housing.
All the cells in Blocks 1 and 2 contain a toilet without toilet seat or lid and nothing partitioning it off from the rest of the cell, a sink with a cold water faucet, a small table and bench attached to the wall, and a bed -- either single or bunk-bed style. Most of the cells in this part of the jail contain a bunk-bed (one bed over another) and house two persons. It is virtually impossible for two men to move around in the cell simultaneously without interfering with each other physically. In this regard there was testimony that inmates so housed adopted a system which allowed one inmate to move around the cell every other day while his cellmate stayed in bed. Twenty-two hours in such a cell constitutes a normal day for many of these inmates.
The dormitories are large rooms approximately 40 x 98 feet. At the time of the trial these rooms contained four rows of beds, two of which were of the double bunk type. Approximately eighteen inches separated the beds, and each dormitory housed from 125 to 150 men, all of whom keep their personal effects under their beds. There is also a toilet facility in each dormitory, walled off from the main room, but with no partitions between the commodes.
The dining facilities for Cell Blocks 1 and 2 are located on the ground floor and consist of approximately 20 small tables in each of the two areas. There is no partition between the cells and the dining area, and consequently toilets are in open view.
Cell Block 3 is known as the trustee facility, and Cell Block 4 houses juveniles and elderly persons. The cells in these two blocks have windows. From time to time, the cells in Block 4 contain two persons.
The Director of the Department of Corrections, Defendant Jackson, has the authority and responsibility to decide where sentenced inmates will be housed within the Department of Corrections complex, except in cases where the courts specifically designate a particular institution. A substantial number of sentenced persons are housed at the Jail. On March 10, 1975 there were 979 persons confined in the Jail. Examination of the records of 883 of these residents revealed that 20% (177) were sentenced convicts with no charges pending; 9.4% (83) were sentenced, but had charges pending; and 64% (565) were unsentenced. Fifty-eight sentenced persons were held pursuant to writs, parole violator warrants or orders of appellate courts.
The policy of the Department of Corrections at the time of trial, and for more than a year prior thereto, was to hold the following classes of sentenced prisoners at the Jail:
a) all misdemeanants serving sentences;
b) sentenced inmates from District Court awaiting designation of a Federal Bureau of Prisons institution for service of sentence, or awaiting transportation to such Federal institution after designation;
c) sentenced inmates from Superior Court where designation to a Federal Bureau of Prisons institution has been recommended by the sentencing judge, pending action on that recommendation and transportation to the institution;
d) inmates within three months of their parole eligibility date at ...