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June 30, 1989

INMATES OF OCCOQUAN, et al., Plaintiffs
MARION BARRY, Mayor, et al., Defendants

June L. Green, United States District Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: GREEN


Plaintiffs, inmates confined at the District of Columbia's Occoquan Facility of the Lorton Correctional Complex, brought this action claiming violations of their eighth amendment rights under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief, contending that an excessive inmate population; deficiencies in environmental health and safety; food services; fire safety; medical and dental services; and mental health care, alone or in combination, violate the eighth amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

 After certifying the plaintiff class pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(2), the Court conducted a ten-day trial on the merits. On December 22, 1986, the Court filed its opinion and accompanying order entering judgment in plaintiffs' favor. Inmates of Occoquan v. Barry, 650 F. Supp. 619 (D.D.C. 1986). The Court found that the "numerous deficiencies at Occoquan, systemic in nature, exacerbated by chronic overcrowding, combine cumulatively to subject plaintiffs to cruel and unusual punishment." Id. at 634. As a remedy, the Court imposed an institution population cap of 1,281 and subjected each of the nineteen housing units within the Occoquan Facility to individual population caps.

 The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated and remanded, finding that the population cap was too broad a remedy. Inmates of Occoquan v. Barry, 269 U.S. App. D.C. 210, 844 F.2d 828, 844 (D.C. Cir. 1988). The Court of Appeals also found error with the Court's "continuous resort to the standards articulated by professional agencies in evaluating the constitutionality of the conditions at Occoquan." Id. at 843. The Court of Appeals stated that this Court should have "scrutinized specific dormitories or services found to fall short of the constitutional minima." Id.

 A trial to the Court was held upon remand to determine whether the conditions at Occoquan violate plaintiffs' eighth amendment rights, and if so, to determine the proper remedy.

 I. Findings of Fact

 In the fall of 1988, defendants consolidated Occoquan I, II, and III into one facility. The three Occoquans became Zones I, II, and III, respectively. In addition, the J-1 Dorm became Dorm 6 and J-2 Dorm became Dorm 7, each a part of Zone III. *fn1" A detailed description of the composition of the Occoquan Facility is found in the Court's original opinion. Occoquan, 650 F. Supp. at 620. The population of the Occoquan Facility has risen steadily since the initial trial in 1986. On November 26, 1986, the population at Occoquan had risen to 1,637. Id. Before the present trial, the population had swelled to as much as 2,042 on November 2, 1988. Plaintiffs' Exhibit 266. This count far exceeds the level of 1,756 that existed at the time of the July 1986 riot. Occoquan, 650 F. Supp. at 620.

 A. Environmental Conditions

 1. Housing

 a. Bathroom Facilities

 General sanitation in the dorms is deplorable and the bathroom facilities are in terrible condition. First, there are insufficient numbers of showers and lavatories in many of the dorms. Even defendants' expert in the area of penology, and correctional practice and operations stated that "one could not argue that there should be more [toilets], more sinks [lavatories] and more showers." Vol. V at 157, lines 21-22. *fn2" Defendant Hallem H. Williams, Jr. stated that he was "concerned about the bathroom facilities in relationship to the number of beds." Plaintiffs' Exhibit 1 at 15 (Williams Deposition). Numbers of bathroom facilities, however, are just the beginning of the problem.

 The showers are filthy. In K-1 Dorm, "icicle-like [stalactites]" hang down from the ceiling, the result of a long-term leak. Vol. II at 30, lines 15-17. The shower walls are filled with soap scum, id. at lines 21-25, and the walls are covered with mold. Id. at 31, lines 1-9. In L Dorm, "soapy, smelly water" oozed out of a cracked baseboard and the walls were covered with mold. Id. at lines 15-18. Plaintiffs' environmental and health expert, Ward C. Duel, testified that these conditions "[show] that cleaning has been consistently inadequate over a period of time." Id. at lines 4-5. Soap scum is prevalent not only on the shower walls, but also along the floor. There are pathways of soap scum between the showers, but where people stand to dry, the soap scum has been worn off by traffic. Id. at 32, lines 4-11.

 During Mr. Duel's tour, he came across a toilet in Dorm 4 that was stopped up. A newspaper was covering the toilet, "but, even so, as you walked by the area, you could smell the decomposing feces." Id. at 39, lines 10-15. When asked why the toilet was in such sad shape, the officer in charge and the inmate porter stated that they "had not been able to get it repaired for a considerable period of time." Id. at lines 18-20.

 This type of problem is systemic. Numerous toilets did not work and leaking pipes were found throughout the Occoquan Facility. Mold grows on the wet walls, paint peels from lack of proper ventilation and tiles have fallen off the ceiling or have come up from the floor due to the moisture. Q Block toilets are in foul condition. The toilets are surrounded by cement, with no lids. Due to leaking flush buttons, the paint on the toilets' walls is cracked and peeling, with mold growing in the cracks. See Plaintiffs' Ex. 22, BW Photos 2-31, 5-30, 6-12, and Color Photo 1-4. Filthy toilets are a common problem throughout Q Block, along with thick soap scum in the showers. Plaintiffs' Ex. 42 at 68. Since there are no toilet seats, the toilet is rough with peeling paint. Vol. II at 40, lines 13-15; Plaintiffs' Ex. 22, Color Photo 1-4. The Q Block sanitary fixtures are dirty, dilapidated, and depressing.

 The toilets in the main dorms are not much better. Many urinals leak. Some leaks are due to washers, others are due to leaking seals or cracked bowls. Toilet flush valves leak and the sewer pipe in Dorm 1 dripped into a toilet. Plaintiffs' Ex. 42 at 57. Stalactites were hanging from an overhead sewer pipe, due to a long-time leak. Id.; see also Plaintiffs' Ex. 22, Color Photo 2-12. In Dorm 7, in addition to leaking urinals and pipes, water from the restroom above the toilet area was leaking through the ceiling and water was running out of the wall in the restroom. Plaintiffs' Ex. 42 at 57-58. In other dorms, toilets were loose from the floor, along with leaking flush buttons. A closer look at the ratio of sanitary fixtures to inmates shows that most dorms far exceed the ratio suggested by national standards. The American Correctional Association (ACA) and the American Public Health Association (APHA) set the following number of inmates per fixture: Inmates per Fixture Standard Lavatories Toilets Showers ACA 6 8 8 APHA 8 8 15


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