A deputy secretary of the New Mexico Corrections Department was named yesterday as the District's expert consultant who will help monitor compliance with court orders for the D.C. Jail and three Lorton Reformatory facilities.
Kathryn R. Monaco, 33, who also formerly worked for the special master of nine New York City prisons, was appointed by John D. Fauntleroy, a retired D.C. Superior Court judge who was named last week as a special assistant for corrections to Mayor Marion Barry.
Both appointments were part of an agreement reached last week between District officials and attorneys for inmates at Lorton's Central facility that persuaded U.S. District Judge June L. Green to delay for six months appointment of a special independent master for Central.
Peter J. Nickles, Central inmates' attorney, said that Monaco, who designed New Mexico's program for complying with a statewide court order, was a "superb selection." As a part of the agreement, the consultant was selected from a list compiled by Nickles and approved by Green. Monaco is expected to be paid $50 an hour.
The District's difficulty in dealing with the various court orders, especially the inmate population cap of 1,694 for the D.C. Jail, was the subject of a lengthy joint hearing yesterday before two House subcommittees on District affairs, but there was little consensus among the representatives or witnesses on what should be done to solve prison crowding problems.
At the same time, D.C. corrections officials for the second day were having difficulty keeping the jail's inmate population under the cap and were delaying prisoners arriving from D.C. Superior Court on buses outside the jail until other inmates could be moved out.
Law enforcement sources said one bus was delayed outside the jail for two hours Wednesday night, and another bus was delayed for two hours last night. The inmate count early yesterday was 1,690.
Testifying before the House District subcommittees, Barry said the city's continuing overcrowding problems are caused by the federal government's refusal to accept additional D.C. inmates.
After U.S. District Judge William B. Bryant imposed the inmate cap at the jail Aug. 22, the federal Bureau of Prisons accepted all newly sentenced D.C. prisoners for 4 1/2 months before pulling out of the agreement in mid-January, saying that the city was not making enough progress toward building a new prison.
Since then, Barry has tried to convince the federal government to take more prisoners and stepped up that campaign two weeks ago in an appearance before the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on the District of Columbia.
After testifying, Barry told reporters that he believed the hearing, conducted by Rep. Mervyn Dymally (D-Calif.) and D.C. Del. Walter Fauntroy (D), would help "increase the pressure" on the federal government.
Barry also indicated that he believes Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), chairman of the District subcommittee, can exert more pressure on Deputy Attorney General D. Lowell Jensen, who is expected to be named to a federal judgeship.
Jensen "has to come up before the Judiciary Committee," Barry said, noting that Specter has "great influence on the committee."
A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office, which has handled the prison problem for the Justice Department, said yesterday he had no comment on Barry's remarks.
Barry and others testifying at the hearing said the continuing increase in the number of D.C. prisoners reflects a growing drug problem in the District, especially involving cocaine and PCP.
"Drugs are driving our system," Barry declared, pointing out that an initiative passed by the voters set mandatory minimum sentences for many drug offenders and that judges are giving longer sentences.
Acting D.C. Superior Court Chief Judge George Herbert Goodrich said more than 60 percent of all adults arrested in the District test positive for drug use and that half of those are found to have used PCP.
Among juvenile offenders, Goodrich said, a third test positive for drugs and, of those, 90 percent are found to have used PCP.