On Feb. 22, City Desk had reported that there had been at least six stabbings at the D.C. Jail since November. A few days prior to our post, we wrote the Department of Corrections with a simple request. We asked for the department’s own figure on the number of stabbings since November.
On Feb. 18, the day after we sent our e-mail, the DOC’s Spokesperson Sylvia Lane sent back an encouraging reply: “I will get back to you with further information.”
After more back and forth, Lane wrote: “We are still in the process of collecting the requested data.” This would become a familiar refrain.
On Feb. 23, Lane wrote: “We are still collecting the data.”
Then three days later, Lane wrote back to say: “I did receive your message; however, we have not completed the data collection process.”
At this point, I began to wonder if the Department of Corrections even kept records on violent incidents. Why would it take a week to produce a stat on stabbing incidents?
Finally, on March 4, Lane refused to hand over the DOC’s stats on stabbing incidents. The reason: It’s a security issue. Lane wrote in an email: “At this time, due to the security issues associated with this request, the data will not be released.”
Tomorrow, Councilmember Phil Mendelson, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, will be holding an oversight hearing on the Department of Corrections.
Maybe he can get an answer on the D.C. Jail stabbings.