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Bowser Administration Awards Grants to Study Building New Jail and Creating DC Parole Board 

Wednesday, January 23, 2019
Local criminal justice experts will advise on best practices for designing a new correctional facility and for reestablishing local control over parole

(WASHINGTON, DC) – The Bowser Administration has awarded $225,000 in grants to support critical research on elements of the District’s criminal justice system. The first grant will focus on best practices in reimagining a new correctional facility, including community engagement and design that encourages rehabilitative efforts. The second grant funds an in-depth review of the legal and structural frameworks needed for the reestablishment of local control over the federally-run Parole Board. The grants were awarded by the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants. 
The $150,000 grant to study the design of a new D.C. Jail was awarded to the Council for Court Excellence (CCE). CCE is a nonprofit, nonpartisan civic organization that envisions a justice system in the District of Columbia that equitably serves its people and continues to be a model for creating stronger and more prosperous communities. CCE identifies and proposes solutions by collaborating with diverse stakeholders to conduct research, advance policy, educate the public, and increase civic engagement. One of the primary goals of this award is to engage a wide range of impacted and interested residents and civic leaders to get their perspectives on corrections and public safety in the District. With a focus on community participation , CCE will deliver:

•    An analysis, through a racial equity framework, of incarceration in the District, including a review of quantitative population data from the jail that includes length of stay, particularly for pre-trial defendants; types of criminal offenses that could be diverted from incarceration.
•    Examples of alternatives to incarceration for different types of crimes.
•    Identification of the specific needs of individuals who are incarcerated and how those needs be should be addressed in the jail, including programming and services that should be available for individuals in the jail.
•    Space/design considerations for constructing a new jail that takes into account offense mix; custody level; inmates with high-risk safety requirements; and types and length of programs to be offered.
•    Criteria to be considered in determining a location of the jail (e.g., access to public transportation, proximity to courts, etc.).
The $75,000 grant to study reestablishing local control over the federally-run DC Parole Board was awarded to the Justice Policy Institute (JPI). JPI, a national nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC, is dedicated to reducing the use of incarceration and the justice system by promoting fair and effective policies. With the funding, JPI will assess the legal and structural framework required for the reestablishment of local control over the D.C. Parole Board. JPI will gather research and conduct interviews to equip District leadership with the best data, evidence, and experiences from other jurisdictions to assist in the process of transferring control of the DC Parole Board back to the District. Currently, the DC Parole Board is run by the U.S. Department of Justice’s U.S. Parole Commission. 

“These studies demonstrate Mayor Bowser’s commitment to using locally-based criminal justice experts help us in creating a progressive model for criminal justice reform,” said Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Kevin Donahue. “We are committed to engaging the community, advocates, and nationally-recognized experts in the designing of a new DC Jail. And as part of our demand to be the 51st State, we are dedicated to bringing more elements of the District’s criminal justice system back under local control.” 

Both awards have a start date of January 1, 2019 and final reports for each are scheduled to be delivered by September 30, 2019. For more information on grant funding through the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants please visit

Daniel Rappaport, OVSJG, (202) 727-8869; [email protected] 

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