A former Lorton Reformatory inmate told a D.C. Superior court judge yesterday he had developed a dependency on heroin while at the prison and asked not to be returned there for violating his probation.
Mitchell Jones told Judge Henry F. Greene he had never injected heroin before he was sent to Lorton in December 1983, but by the time he was released last September, "I needed it every day, four or five times a day."
Obtaining heroin within the D.C. prison, located in southern Fairfax County, is "easy, just like on the street," Jones said. "It still gets in, either by other inmates or officers. Officers even bring it in."
Jones has asked to be sentenced to a drug rehabilitation center.
"Our position is that if the purpose is to rehabilitate him, then the prison is an unsafe environment," Jones's attorney, Adgie O'Bryant, said before yesterday's hearing.
Greene said that if he had "any reason to believe" the allegations, he would seriously consider not returning Jones to Lorton. Last year, Greene recommended that an admitted heroin addict not be sent to Lorton because of the availablity of drugs there.
Metcalfe King, assistant corporation counsel, said after yesterday's hearing that "anybody listening to that testimony -- if they believe it, that's craziness."
D.C. corrections officials refused to comment yesterday on specific allegations made at the hearing but conceded that drugs are a problem at Lorton. "Yes, there are drugs at Lorton," LeRoy Anderson, corrections spokesman, said yesterday. "We are doing everything we can to stop it."
A former cellmate of Jones at the D.C. Jail testified that he did not see any needle marks on Jones's body while they were housed together before Jones was transferred to Lorton.
Later yesterday, William Hawthorne, 30, who said he was housed two cells away from Jones in the maximum security facility of the prison in the spring of 1984, said he saw Jones shoot up "eight or 10 times."
"Your honor, there's nothing a guy can't do at Lorton," Hawthorne said. "There is nothing complicated about receiving anything at Lorton." Hawthorne said that inmates at the maximum security facility pass the drugs from cell to cell.
Earlier this week, another Lorton inmate, Alvin Bass, testified that he had seen Jones shoot up eight or nine times when they lived on the same cell block, Greene stated yesterday. The court also ordered that Jones be examined by Deputy Medical Examiner James Dibdin.
Dibdin said he examined needle marks on Jones's forearms and that "my physical findings were consistent with intraveneous drug abuse." But he said he was not able to determine how old the needle marks were.
D.C. Jail inmate Larry T. Williams Sr. testified yesterday that, while he was housed in the same D.C. Jail cell as Jones from September to December 1983, he did not see Jones inject any substance into his arms and never saw track marks on his body.
Jones, 29, testified that he left the jail in December to continue his term at Occaquan II, a medium security facility at Lorton, where he lived in an open dormitory with about 100 inmates.
Jones, who admitted having an alcohol problem, said inmates there made wine and he sometimes got drunk but never took heroin.
In March, he said, he was transferred to a lock-down cell block at the maximum security facilty because of disciplinary problems. Two days after his arrival, Jones said, he shot up heroin for the first time because it helped him "deal" with his surroundings.
"Sometimes I paid for it with money, sometimes I paid for it with cigarettes," he said.
He said he tried to stop, "But I started getting sick all the time, vomiting . . . . I went to ask the guy [a dealer] why I threw up and he told me I was getting the monkey on my back. He gave me another injection, then the sickness was gone."
Assistant corporation counsel King asked Jones to name Lorton drug dealers, but Jones responded, "I'm not saying no names. I value my life and other folks'."
Jones was released from Lorton in September after serving 14 months for receiving stolen property. He was placed on five years probation but later was found in violation of his probation after he was arrested twice within four months of his release. He also pleaded guilty to violating the Bail Reform Act after he failed to appear for a hearing in connection with an arrest.
The purpose of yesterday's hearing was to determine what, if any, prison term he should receive for the new violations and whether he should serve it at Lorton.
Another hearing on Jones's sentencing is set for Thursday; at that time the government is expected to present its case.
"I want some reasonable assurance he's not going to have access to drugs . . . while in the D.C. Department of Corrections," Greene said at the end of yesterday's hearing.