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Via today’s local papers, this one included, comes news that the Fenty people have finally agreed to a cap on the population of the D.C. Jail. That cap is 2,164 inmates, and it’s at the high end of the range that a city consultant recommended for the lockup. If given its druthers, the city would have put the ceiling at 3,198 inmates. Talk about barbaric. As this paper and others have pointed out over the years, the D.C. Jail is a hellhole of towering dimensions. Just a shortlist of the bullshit that’s gone on there: guards macing inmates in their private parts, guards not knowing how and when to administer CPR, culminating in an inmate’s death, shit flying around, and all manner of overcrowding and miscellaneous inhumanity. All this stuff is fully documented, not in dispute. Yet two successive mayoral administrations—-AAW and AMF—-respond by trying to cram more people in there, or at least maintaining the latitude to do so. The city’s greatest currently underutilized asset—-former Ward 3 Councilmember Kathy Patterson—-spent many hours sticking it to the establishment on this cause. Even so, she left office without attaining a clear-cut victory. It’s sick that further pressure—-a lawsuit and a good judge—-would be required to force the city to treat its own people according to the most basic standards of decency.