Health, Safety, and Security Conditions in the H. Carl Moultrie I Courthouse Space Utilized by the U.S. Marshal for the District of Columbia Superior Court
Evaluation and Inspections Report I-2007-008-R
Office of the Inspector General
The Conference Report on the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act of 2007 directed the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to review the health, safety, and security conditions in the space in the H. Carl Moultrie I Courthouse (Moultrie Courthouse) utilized by the United States Marshals Service (USMS).1 The OIG examined the USMS space to determine if it met federal construction and maintenance standards for detention facilities and federal occupational health and safety standards and made recommendations as appropriate.
This is a limited version of the OIG’s full 55-page report. The full report includes information that the USMS considered to be law enforcement sensitive and that therefore could not be publicly released. To create this public version of the report, the OIG removed information from the full report that we agreed was sensitive because it disclosed potential security vulnerabilities.
Congress created the District of Columbia Court of Appeals (Court of Appeals) and the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (Superior Court) by statute in 1970.2 The Court of Appeals is the equivalent of a state supreme court and hears appeals from the Superior Court and administrative agencies. The Superior Court is responsible for hearing misdemeanor and felony criminal cases arising under the District of Columbia Code. To assist the Superior Court in carrying out its responsibilities, Congress created the U.S. Marshal for the District of Columbia Superior Court (Marshal) in 1988.
The Marshal has the duties of other U.S. Marshals and also performs some of the duties of a local sheriff for the nation’s capital.3 As part of these duties, the Marshal and Deputy Marshals provide security in 94 courtrooms in the Moultrie Courthouse and are responsible for the individual security of 130 judges as well as other officers of the District of Columbia Courts. The Marshal and his Deputies also work with the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department and Department of Corrections to ensure that individuals arrested in the District of Columbia appear for arraignment and that those individuals denied bail appear for trial.
To support the Superior Court’s operations, the Marshal and the USMS staff operate a cellblock for adult prisoners, an administrative area, and a juvenile holding facility in the Moultrie Courthouse, which was built 31 years ago.4
Administration of the District of Columbia Courts
The District of Columbia Courts are administered by the Joint Committee on Judicial Administration (the Joint Committee), which is composed of the Chief Judge and one Associate Judge from the Court of Appeals and the Chief Judge and two Associate Judges from the Superior Court. The Executive Officer of the District of Columbia Courts (Executive Officer) serves as the Secretary of the Joint Committee.5 The Joint Committee is the policy-making body for the District of Columbia Courts and is responsible for general personnel policies, accounting and auditing, procurement and disbursement, and development and coordination of statistics and management information systems and reports. The Joint Committee is also responsible for developing the budget of the District of Columbia Courts and submits its budget request directly to the Office of Management and Budget. Congress appropriates funds directly to the District of Columbia Courts for operating expenses and capital improvements to the Moultrie Courthouse, while the USMS budget includes the salaries and administrative expenses of the Marshal and USMS staff.
The Moultrie Courthouse
The Moultrie Courthouse was constructed during 1975 and 1976. It currently houses the Court of Appeals and the Superior Court, which includes the Superior Court of the District of Columbia Family Court (Family Court).6 In addition to courtrooms and judges’ chambers, the Moultrie Courthouse houses administrative offices for the District of Columbia Courts, program offices for the District of Columbia Pretrial Services Agency and the District of Columbia Public Defender Service, a day-care center, and other ancillary court-related services.
In the 31 years since its completion, the Moultrie Courthouse has undergone many changes. It originally had 44 courtrooms. During the last 30 years, 50 new courtrooms have been added to accommodate the dockets of the District of Columbia Courts. Chambers were also added to accommodate more judges. The largest change has been the 10-year project to consolidate the Family Court in one contiguous area of the Moultrie Courthouse.7
The USMS Space in the Moultrie Courthouse
The space allocated to the USMS by the District of Columbia Courts includes a cellblock for adult prisoners, courtroom holding cells, elevators, corridors, and a vehicle sallyport.8 The USMS space also includes an administrative area and a juvenile holding facility, which is being moved to a newly renovated area of the courthouse as part of the Family Court consolidation.
The new juvenile holding facility will comply with rules requiring the sight and sound separation of juvenile defendants from adult defendants and will allow Deputy Marshals to escort detained juveniles to the Family Court courtrooms without commingling the juveniles with the general public or adult prisoners.9 The renovations to the juvenile holding facility are the first changes made to the cellblock and prisoner movement areas since the Moultrie Courthouse was constructed.
In May 2007, the District of Columbia Courts completed the District of Columbia Courts Facilities Improvement Feasibility Study for the U.S. Marshals Service (feasibility study) in response to congressional concerns about health, safety, and security conditions in the USMS cellblock and administrative area. This feasibility study identified needed improvements to the USMS space.
Methodology of the OIG Review
To evaluate the health, safety, and security conditions in the USMS space, we conducted interviews and onsite inspections, and performed document analysis.
Interviews. We conducted 29 interviews, including interviews with the Director of the USMS, 6 additional officials from USMS Headquarters, and the U.S. Marshal for the District of Columbia Superior Court. We also conducted a group interview with members of the Marshal’s staff, including seven supervisors and six staff assigned to work in the Moultrie Courthouse.
We interviewed officials from the Courts, including the Chief Judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, who is the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Judicial Administration in the District of Columbia (the Joint Committee), the Chief Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, the Chairman of the Courts’ Security Committee, and the Executive Officer.10 We also interviewed representatives from other federal and District of Columbia agencies whose employees work in the Moultrie Courthouse.
Onsite Inspections. We conducted three inspections of the USMS space in the Moultrie Courthouse. The first inspection was conducted by the OIG and USMS staff assigned to the District of Columbia Superior Court. Following that inspection, the OIG obtained subject matter expertise in security and health and safety standards from the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and Federal Occupational Health (FOH), a unit of the U.S. Public Health Service.11 We conducted a second onsite inspection of the USMS space with the assistance of engineers from the BOP’s Technical Support Office, Design and Construction Branch, to determine the cellblock’s compliance with security standards for detention facilities. We conducted a third onsite health and safety inspection with the assistance of subject matter experts provided by the FOH. During this review, we applied 8 sets of independent security standards for detention facilities and 22 sets of independent occupational health and safety standards for administrative buildings, such as USMS Publication 64: Requirements and Specifications for Special Purpose and Support Space Manual (Publication 64).12 See the Appendix for a complete list of the standards we utilized in our inspections.
Document Analysis. We reviewed documents that the USMS provided, including reports describing non-compliance with USMS standards, budget information, intergovernmental agreements and a draft memorandum of understanding, memoranda reports the Marshal provided that described the conditions in the USMS space in the Moultrie Courthouse, and a June 2007 security survey of the courthouse conducted by the USMS.13 We also reviewed documents that the District of Columbia Courts provided, including budget information on funds obligated by the Courts for the USMS space, a draft memorandum of understanding, and the May 2007 District of Columbia Courts Facilities Improvement Feasibility Study for the U.S. Marshals Service (feasibility study) that the District of Columbia Courts commissioned.
Conference Report, U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act (H.R. 1591), 2007, H. Rept. 110-107 at 97.
See Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution and D.C. Code § 11-101.
The President appoints a U.S. Marshal for each of the 94 federal judicial districts and the District of Columbia Superior Court. The U.S. Marshals are responsible for protecting the federal judiciary, court officers, and witnesses; apprehending fugitives; transporting prisoners; and seizing property acquired by criminals through illegal activities. See 28 U.S.C. § 566.
The cellblock includes courtroom holding cells, elevators, and corridors used to move prisoners through the courthouse, and a vehicle sallyport.
The Joint Committee was created as part of the District of Columbia Court Reform and Criminal Procedure Act of 1970. See D.C. Code § 11-1701.
The Family Court decides cases involving abuse and neglect, juveniles, domestic relations, domestic violence, paternity, and support.
District of Columbia Family Court Act of 2001, D.C. Code § 11-1101 et seq.
The vehicle sallyport is a secure garage area used by the USMS for prisoner transportation vehicles. It is the point of entry into the courthouse for all prisoners.
The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974, 42 U.S.C. § 5633(a)(13), requires complete separation of detained juveniles from adult offenders so that there is no sight or sound contact. Separation must be provided in all secure areas of the facility, including sallyports and hallways.
The Joint Committee, created by the District of Columbia Court Reform and Criminal Procedure Act of 1970, is the decision-making body for the District of Columbia Courts and submits the Courts’ budget request directly to the Office of Management and Budget. See D.C. Code § 11-1701.
The BOP Technical Support Office, Design and Construction Branch, provides expert assistance for the construction, repair, and maintenance of federal prisons and detention centers. The FOH provides occupational safety and health inspections to federal agencies. See 42 Fed. Reg. 61317 (Dec. 2, 1977).
The Chairman of the Joint Committee told us that that the Committee has not agreed that Publication 64 standards are applicable to the Moultrie Courthouse.
Office of Courthouse Management Security Survey Report: District of Columbia Superior Court, H. Carl Moultrie I Courthouse, 500 Indiana Avenue, NW, June 2007.
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