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In June 2006, two inmates escaped from the D.C. Jail by shimmying down a canopy. In the aftermath of the escape, officials pledged that the canopy, which protects waiting visitors from the elements, would be removed. But when At-Large Councilmember and Judiciary Committee Chairman Phil Mendelson toured the facility on Tuesday, he noted the canopy was still there. “I thought they removed it,” he says. “I was surprised. I was told a year ago that it jeopardized security.”
Corrections spokesperson Beverly Young blames former Mayor Anthony Williams. “Director Brown sought approval from the previous administration to have the canopy removed but did not receive response to his formal request,” Young writes in an e-mail. “Of concern was that the visitors would not have any shelter during inclement weather.” She adds that there are construction plans in the works that will address the visiting area.