A 17-year-old inmate at the D.C. Jail Annex died Thursday of injuries he received when he was beaten with a lead pipe during a fight with other inmates two months ago, correction officials reported yesterday.
In another, unrelated incident, a 27-year-old Lorton inmate was in extremely critical condition yesterday after he was beaten about the head with a hatchet by another inmate in his dormitory, officials said.
The death of Calvin Webb and the severe beating of Bradley Smith drew concern from the union representing employes at the two facilities -- both of which are considered understaffed, although they have been targeted for large layoffs as part of Mayor Barry's efforts to balance the city budget.
Bernard Demczuk, D.C. jail union leader, said the reduction of staff and services creates the increased potential for disturbances by the idle inmates.
"It (inmate violence) is increasing because the staff is decreasing," he said. "We know that the pattern of assaults against inmates will begin to turn against the officers."
However, D.C. corrections director Delbert Jackson disagrees. "I see no correlation between the two," he said.
He attributed the violence among inmates to the criminal nature of prisoners and noted that records of assaults are down from past years.
Leroy Anderson, a corrections department spokesman, said eight assaults have been reported at the central facility at Lorton since October of last year. Six assaults have been reported at Lorton's maximum security facility since the first of this year. Figures for the D.C. jail and other facilities were not immediately available.
But Demezuk said the reported figures did not show a true picture since many assaults are unreported. He said prisoners live by a code of silence and just get even.
Calvin Webb, who is awaiting trial in the D.C. Jail Annex on a charge of murder, was beaten with a pipe during a fight on the morning of Feb. 9, corrections officials said.
He was taken to D.C. General Hospital, where he died last Thursday night, officials said.
At the time of the fight no corrections officer was present. The incident is being investigated by the D.C. homicide detectives but no one has yet been charged.
Meanwhile, early yesterday Bradley Smith was asleep in his cell in Lorton when someone beat him on the head with a homemade hatchet, officials said.
There was no corrections officer in the dormitory, which houses about 40 inmates, at the time of incident, officials said.
An inmate reported the beating to a corrections officer and Smith, who was serving an eight- to 25-year sentence on a murder conviction, subsequently was flown by helicopter to the Washington Hospital Center.
A hospital spokesman said late yesterday Smith was in "extremely critical condition."
The FBI is investigating the beating, a corrections department spokesman said.
Jackson said no corrections officers are stationed inside the dormitories where Smith was held, although they monitor and patrol from the outside."No officers are stationed in the dormitories," he said. "We don't have the manpower to do that."
Corrections officers do make hourly bed checks, with one corrections officer going inside the dormitory, while another stands at the door and watches. The officers do not carry guns.
Demzcuk said such an arrangement is dangerous for the correction officers. "Some officers for their own protection will not go into the dorms . . . It's common knowledge that all inmates have a weapon somewhere."
"A prison environment is by nature a dangerous environment," Jackson said. "It's just the hazards that are indigenous to the job."
About 225 corrections department employers will be laid off before the end of the month under the mayor's plan.
The corrections department has 1,880 employes, about 1,100 of them corrections officers. There are 3,800 inmates at Lorton prison and in D.C. jail.