City Paper is not for tourists
Cold Storage When Mother Nature sucker-punched Washington with a foot of snow two weeks ago, the heating system in D.C.’s Correctional Treatment Facility shut down for 48 hours. According to one inmate, temperatures dipped so low in the building that guards wore heavy winter coats to patrol hallways. Corrections officials say the chilly atmosphere did not constitute an emergency. “No one was adversely impacted,” insists D.C. Department of Corrections spokesperson Darryl J. Madden. “We issued extra blankets, and portable heaters were not even needed.” Infrastructure problems have plagued the facility for years, and when private-prison concern Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) took over three years ago, it promised rehabilitation, spending $6 million on improvements. The outlay apparently wasn’t enough. “The heating system constantly requires repair,” says Madden. “It’s a large system, and it runs all the time. Due to the maintenance required, it goes down.” CCA officials seem to agree with Madden’s assessment. “I’m the wrong person to ask whether it’s cold or warm [in here], because I walk around with a sweater,” says CCA spokesperson Gloria Lloyd.