E-Alerts & Press Releases

Baltimore Women’s Detention Center to close

May 25, 2016: The Women’s Detention Center will be closed for eventual demolition as the state of Maryland moves forward with plans to overhaul the health care system and facilities in the Baltimore City jail complex. The changes follow the settlement in Duvall v. Hogan, which requires the state to provide adequate, timely medical and mental health care to detainees and improve physical conditions. The Public Justice Center, American Civil Liberties Union National Prison Project, and the Law Offices of Elizabeth Alexander represent the detainees in the Baltimore City jail complex in this decades-long class action.

Detainees in the Women’s Detention Center have suffered from excessive heat in the summer, broken lights, and frequent flooding that compromised plumbing and drinkable water. The disrepair threatened people’s health and interfered with mental health services and medical examinations. Given the scale of the problem, the state decided to forego renovation and close the facility once construction on a new building is completed in Jessup, scheduled for this fall. Women in the WDC will move to Central Booking. Lawyers for the plaintiff class have also learned that the men who have been housed separately in the WDC will move to various facilities in the region, including the new one, depending on whether they are pre-trial or sentenced, among other factors. Following last summer’s closure of the Men’s Detention Center, the closure of the WDC is another major step to ensure the health and safety of those forced to spend time in the Baltimore City Detention Center. We hope that the timing of the closure of WDC will allow for appropriate planning and transition, especially with respect to the health care needs of those affected.

Approval of the settlement in Duvall v. Hogan is now scheduled for a hearing in the federal court on June 28, 2016.

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