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DC's only halfway house Hope Village will not renew contract at the end of April

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Norton Asks BOP for Contingency Plan for D.C. Returning Citizens After Hope Village Contract Expires at End of Month

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) released the letter she sent today to the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) asking for its plan for individuals returning to the District of Columbia from BOP prisons, after Hope Village, the men’s halfway house in D.C., informed Norton that it would not seek an extension or renewal of its contract with BOP after it expires on April 30, 2020. Hope Village is the largest federally contracted men’s halfway house in the country and houses both BOP and D.C. Department of Corrections inmates. D.C. Code felons are the only local inmates regularly housed by BOP.

“It is imperative that there be a halfway house here in the District of Columbia,” Norton said. “Returning citizens must be near family, near necessary services, and able to get driver’s licenses and employment to help prepare them for reentry to society. I am asking the Federal Bureau of Prisons to inform me exactly how it will ensure residents currently in Hope Village will be safely transferred to a new facility, and how newly returning citizens will be able to come to the District.”

Norton previously called on BOP to release as many Hope Village residents as possible and appropriate into home confinement to help combat the coronavirus.

Norton’s letter follows:

 

April 10, 2020

 

Michael Carvajal

Director

Federal Bureau of Prisons

320 First Street NW

Washington, DC 20534

 

Dear Director Carvajal:

 

I understand that Hope Village, the men’s residential reentry center (RRC), or halfway house, in the District of Columbia, has decided not to request an extension or renewal of its contract with the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), which expires on April 30, 2020. As I have expressed to BOP previously, it is essential that there be an RRC in the District. Your predecessor, Dr. Kathleen Hawk Sawyer, also held this view, and I hope you do, too.

As you know, the likelihood of recidivism is significantly reduced when returning citizens are able to reintegrate into their home community and renew roots with friends and family. It is essential that an RRC or similar entity in the District be provided during the coronavirus. Furthermore, as many RRC residents as possible should be released to home confinement. They cannot do that if they are not physically here in the District. It is imperative that this situation be resolved.

I write to ask that you answer the following questions about this issue:

 

  1. What is the plan to house returning citizens in the District, including the outstanding RRC request for proposals?
  2. Where will current Hope Village residents be housed after April 30th, particularly if a new multiyear RRC contract is not signed immediately?
  3. How will you ensure D.C. returning citizens are able to get the essential services they need from D.C., such as driver’s licenses, which is critical for employment, after the Hope Village contract expires?
  4. How will residents be physically moved to a new location safely, especially in light of the coronavirus, which requires social distancing?

 

I ask that you respond in writing within three days of the date of this letter, given the urgency of this matter.

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For the latest information on the District Government’s response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus), please visit coronavirus.dc.gov.