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D.C. Women Facing Federal Prison Don't Get Fair Shake, Says Report

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Advocates for prison reform are asking that female inmates from D.C. serve their sentences closer to home, arguing that existing rules are unfair. When a local or state court convicts someone of a felony in the rest of the U.S., they say that person gets to stay in state, but when DC Superior Court sentences someone to a year or more in prison, that person is usually sent to a federal facility.

"There are no federal female facilities in D.C., Maryland or Virginia and for that reason, women from D.C. get sent to federal prisons in other states, some of them more than a thousand miles away," Attorney Carolyn Corwin said.

Corwin oversaw the creation of a report exploring the challenges D.C. women face when they're incarcerated by the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs and Covington & Burling LLP.

One of the team's key findings is that these women are being kept too far from home — with the closest federal prisons in Philadelphia and West Virginia — and that has consequences.

"It is very difficult for family to travel, so that minors children may never see their mothers during that whole period," Corwin said.

The report recommends women with sentences of two years or less be able to serve their time in or near the District. It also urges D.C. and the Federal Bureau of Prisons look into acquiring a facility for women in the D.C. area.


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