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This past spring, corrections officials claimed that the D.C. Jail was roomy enough for its inmate population, at least in the short term. Back then, they were defending themselves from charges that the facility was overcrowded. Now they’ve changed their tune: Given the rate of growth since April, the head counts at D.C. correctional facilities could jump dramatically over the next year, according to an October study by the D.C. Department of Corrections. “No one can predict the future,” says Darryl Madden, corrections spokesperson. The jail’s average April population was 2,260. In September it was 2,445. In the department’s worst-case scenario, it could be 4,840 by September 2004. (A more moderate forecast is 3,860.) One cause: More defendants have entered the system charged with serious crimes, requiring longer jail stays. “It was really hard not to say ‘I told you so,’” says D.C. Council Judiciary Committee Chair Kathy Patterson. David Morton