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the American Correctional Association in 1966. A copy of that report is in the appendix to the Crime Commission report.
In addition, the chairman will note there were published by the subcommittee a series of investigative reports, by Merrill Alexander, with respect to the correctional system of the District of Columbia. I do not know from my own personal knowledge what has happened since that time. I have read documentation and reports prepared by Mi. Hardy, who knows the work, and I must say if the reports are correct, and I have no reason to disbelieve it, that the correctional system in the District of Columbia has indeed made great strides over the past 2 or 3 years. I think it's time that the correctional system should no longer be ignored in favor of the police, the prosecution, and the courts. I think it's gratifying the way it's handled in this jurisdiction. We have a correctional system which has moved forward while I think that there is room for improvement, and all I am saying is that on the basis of what I have seen that the correctional system has accomplished. I do think they are faced with a very serious problem that greatly needs the help of this committee. If the overcrowding foreseen comes to pass we are going to have, I think, a breakdown of the rehabilitation process that has been built up in the system and the net result will be an adverse impact on the system. Our whole process will insure that when a out of the system he will be able to work back into the community and perform as a useful citizen.
Thank you, gentlemen.
Senator STEVENSON. Thank you, Mr. Miller. You mentioned the overcrowding that exists now at various institutions, particularly the youth center at Lorton, and also the adult facilities at Lorton, and the projected increases in population. Is that projected increase pertaining to changes in the judicial system or is it projected on the basis of social changes or a combination ?
Mr. MILLER. Let me go back a step. Senator, as you probably are aware, in this jurisdiction there was, for a long period of time, a substantial problem with trial delay. In 1950, for example, the time between indictment and trial in the district court was 1.2 months. That has risen. In 1966 I think it was up to 6 months and it has hit as high as 9 to 10 months. As this delay factor has crept into the system, more cases are broken down from felonies to misdemeanors. More cases were dismissed because of the time delay factor involved. So actually you had fewer people actually convicted of a felony than you did maybe in the January before because of the number reduced or dismissed. But anyway the backlog had built up. Now this has been substantially changed by the Court Reorganization Act of 1970 where you have cases tried in the superior court and you will have added a substantial number of judges appointed to that court. So that you have to expect that the output of convictions from that court will substantially increase. You just have to be prepared. And that is what I understand is the projection basis.
Senator STEVENSON. Will the average terms to which they are sentenced increase too?
Mr. MILLER. That is a real possibility under some of the sentencing provisions of the Court Reform Act. The concept of a longer sentence was built in.
Senator STEVENSON. To mandatory limit sentences. Mr. MILLER. Yes. The idea being that in cases of armed, violent, and the like, a substantial sentence should be imposed. Now compare a situation where a man utilizes a gun in the commission of an offense. That is one situation. You have another situation where you have a young fellow, 19, who steals an automobile for a joyride. Between all of them you will find a surprisingly substantial number of the young adults who steal cars for joyrides at least up to 2, 4, and 5 years ago throughout the United States would get a prison sentence. If he is a first offender, I think it's just a waste for that individual to serve time. What happens to him is he is incarcerated and comes out the worse for it. If a man utilizes a gun in commission of a bank robbery that's another question. I would expect that based on the changes in the sentencing procedure, and I have not studied them carefully, there the tendency would definitely be for longer sentences.
I would bring you to another point. There has been in the District Code a provision which permits correctional officials to make application to the judge for sentencing an individual to probation if the prison officials themselves are satisfied that the individual is a good probation risk and if the judge then agrees, the sentence can be commuted to time served and he will be released on probation. I will be perfectly frank with you, Senator, I have not checked. I thought about the statute last night and I have not checked to see if that statute still remains in the Code or whether it was written out by the Court Reform Act of 1970. That legislation, to my knowledge, has not been used at all and I've often wondered why because I think the whole concept of rehabilitation is the prison officials feel that an inmate with a long sentence is a good risk factor for the community, then he should go back into the community and work with this program on probation. I know I discussed, with Mr. Montilla, the particular statute, and it was not in the new law and I would strongly recommend this be put back in.
Senator STEVENSON. You say there are such programs that are in operation now?
Mr. MILLER. Yes; there are. It is my understanding that correctional systems, as soon as budget funds become available, are expanding. They are here today and I think they probably are going to tell you why they are increasing work relief programs. The fact is that the money is not available, and they may very well agree to limit now until they get the funds.
Senator STEVENSON. There is a statutory reserve?
Mr. MILLER. Yes. Suppose a man has been sentenced and has been in the correctional system and they feel that the sentence is much too severe and the man is capable of going out in the community and would be a good risk. Then those individuals should have the right to apply to the courts for reduction of that time sentence.
Senator STEVENSON. Mr. Miller, you said that increasing the institutions is not going to solve the problems. You mean to suggest by that there's not going to be need for new jails?
Mr. MILLER. Oh, no, on the contrary. That's one reason I said there wasn't enough time. In fact in 1967 that was one of our strong recommendations. That we get rid of the monstrosity which is now called District of Columbia jail. Last night I was reading some of the trial stipulations. That planning money is now finally in. Senator Tydings worked very hard to get a new jail and at last we now have the planning money. We hope we will have a new jail in 3 or 4 years. But the last time, in 1967, and even before, we wanted a new jail, there was a need for maximum security and institutions of the type of Lorton. You would have a lapse of 7 years and all I'm saying is we can't wait that long.
Senator STEVENSON. Would you, for the benefit of the committee, go into the recommendations that the Commission made in that area?
Mr. MILLER. Yes: the Commission recommendation is set forth on page 471 of the report. There is a preceding chapter in which this was discussed in detail. A substantial part of the appendix contains the report of the American Correctional Association on which we base many of our recommendations.
Now the first of the recommendations was the one you just mentioned—namely new detention facilities to replace the present jail structure. The recommendation, as I say, was made January 1, 1967. As far as I know we now have a planning fund budget.
Senator STEVENSOX. Do you have any news about the location of that jail ?
Mr. MILLER. Yes. I have not studied the matter carefully but it's based on what I have seen. Also based in fact. as a practicing lawyer, I think the jail facility should be adjacent to the new superior court structure. It's amazing, I have been told by correctional officials in the past, how much manpower it takes to move prisoners from the jail to the courtroom and back. That's one thing but the other thing, of course, from a practicing lawyer's standpoint it is even more important if the prisoner is available in the courthouse or adjacent thereto. It is much easier to interview a defendant to find out what the possible charges are and to go back to check with them. As it is now—the individuals in the District of Columbia jail are somewhat inaccessible. It is a little difficult to maintain contact with the man that you want to represent. I feel quite strongly that the new facility should be adjacent to the superior court building.
Another recommendation we made, Senator, was that 100 correctional officers be added to the Department of Corrections in order to remedy deficiencies in the security of the prison supervision. I am informed that not only have the 100 correctional officers been added, but that perhaps another 100 to 150 on top of that. I don't have the exact figures but I do know that in part of the report that the correctional system has made they have, in fact, gone beyond the recommendation of the Crime Commission with respect to correctional officers, which I think is fine.
I understand that the position of the director of counseling has been established which assists inmates in dealing with family and personal problems. With respect to the diagnostic and outpatient clinic-I assume that that will be a part of the new jail when it is finally constructed. We also recommended that the Department of
Corrections establish a correctional training academy to train correctional inmates for employment in the community. I understand that such a program has, in fact, been instituted. How efficacious— how broad that program is—I have no knowledge. I think it has been started and I believe you can ascertain that fact by talking to Mr. Hardy or other members of his staff.
With respect to the Federal prison industry program—and contracting therewith to run the prison industry-I believe, the contract was never let. For various reasons the correctional system felt that they could do a better job themselves. Again, I suggest that Mr. Hardy will handle that problem.
The responsibility for the operation of our medical and health facility in the center, you recall in 1969, was one of the more critical reports which was submitted to the committee. The health facilities and related factors were really in very bad shape in the report by the Public Health Service. Now to the best of my knowledge while the Public Health Service may have discussed these matters and looked into them, I don't believe they have actually taken steps of assuming the responsibility for medical and health facilities. This would be a matter, to be perfectly frank, for one to go out and examine himself to see whether or not it was implemented. I know we went through the Facility, the problems were apparently there were dead rats on the floor and the screens were out of the doors. It was in pretty bad shape.
I understand now, in that report, and the public response to it, that that has now been taken care of. But again, Senator, the only way one finds that out is going to look for one's self. There are several other concepts. One of our recommendations does not deal specifically with correctional systems but a strong recommendation uncompleted, that as the scope and quality of community resource is available to assist the release of an offender improved, the district court and the court of general sessions and now the superior court, of course, placing more offenders on probation.
Now, what I have seen, and what I have been able to find out, is there's no question of community services and resources that are available to offenders coming out in terms of work relief programs under strict supervision and the like. You may, if you work with probation, find it much more effective now than 5 or 6 years ago. I think the courts have got to look to the situation that the potential of substantial overcrowding would do harm to the program now and look to the fact that the probation situation is much better now than it was 20 years ago.
Senator STEVENSON. Well we'll have a chance to see the implementation of your recommendation. Our next statement is from Kenneth L. Hardy, Director, District of Columbia Department of Corrections, and the probation question will be explained with Judge Greene tomorrow.
You haven't said much about halfway houses. I'm just asking if they are included in the suggestions for community service.
Mr. MILLER. Actually they were included and they agreed that that program should be established. What we were aiming at at that time, of course, was a halfway house. But the whole idea of permitting gradual working into the community, I think it is demonstrated here and also demonstrated in California and elsewhere, that this is a very effective tool and a very useful one. It is so much better than taking an individual, who has served his time, and dumping him out in the community and saying here, sink or swim. It permits a working into an opportunity to make it and that's basically the idea.
Senator STEVENSON. Let's hear your opinion of the bail agency.
Mr. MILLER. I think the bail agencies perform a very useful function. I can remember when I was head of the criminal division back in 1952 and we had a bail agency conference. Not bail agencies, but a conference of bailmen with respect to pretrial release. We found, in many instances, it was chiefly demonstrable that incarceration before trial and loss of job contributed to the effect and really worked to the detriment of the individual. And then eventually came the Bail Reform Act. Now the Bail Reform Act in the District of Columbia has caused problems but the concept is very good in legislation. The legislative concept is excellent. The problem has been, however, that the district court maintains statistics for a period of time and the number of people who are released under the Bail Reform Act do not show up and in effect absconded when the trial came up and the percentage was fairly high. It was not a permanent absconding but they would not show up on the date set for trial and the marshal would have to go out and find them and the like. This, of course, had a substantial disruptive effect on the trial calendars and they would have to come back at a subsequent time for trial so that the bail agencies as such, was a concept to try and figure out which individual they could risk in terms of pretrial release. Anything along that line is a step forward because the judge, under the Bail Reform Act, was a checkpoint and then he could talk bail. But if he insists on the Bail Reform Act he had, in effect, a right to bail. The only test being whether or not he would show up for trial. That was the sole test. We did not have danger to the community that could be considered until after the conviction. Then the statute provided, in addition, whether the individual would show up and serve his sentence in case he chose not to appeal. The court could consider whether or not this man was a danger to the community. I think that is why, eventually, they did have the concept of pretrial detention and ultimately an inactive possibility. Because the whole idea was that there, unquestionably, would be individuals who were such a danger to the community. If the Government approved it then they should have the right to make that showing and ask that this individual be incarcerated for a short period of time, 30 or 60 days, and if he is not tried in that time then the Government is forced to let him go.
Senator STEVENSOX. When an individual commits a crime and is released, are they then supervised by the bailing agency?
Mr. MILLER. Either the activities of the bail agencies, or some other agency, from that point to allow whether they do appear for trial. The answer is not really for cause but the bonding agencies perform