28 october 1968 & women's detention center chorus
#OTD-ish 28 October 1968 The chorus of the Women’s Detention Center (1010 North Capitol St, NW) was practicing for an upcoming performance. In the photograph above, the chorus convenes in a chorus member’s “tiny room” to practice.
According to a 1973 report from LAWCOR, an American University Law School program that provided imprisoned individuals with legal help from law school students, “the Women’s Detention Center…serves as both the detention center and main correctional facility for women in the Washington area. The three-story, rectangular building houses fifty to sixty residents when filled to capacity, and is frequently obliged to accommodate more. Some privileges and advantages do exist at the Women’s Detention Center. Residents wear their own clothes and undergo few restrictions in dress and personal appearance, although storage space is limited, and most bulky possessions such as coats or extra shoes are kept in a communal closet. Women sleep two-to-a-room in bunk beds and eat in a large dining room. Classes in typing, art, and sewing for a limited number of inmates are available within the building, and limited furloughs for computer training and other outside courses have been in operation at various times. Because the Women’s Detention Center holds both sentenced and unsentenced females, a very diversified population inhabits it and a transient atmosphere pervades it, This environment discourages the formation of well-organized rehabilitation programs.”
Earlier in 1968, two individuals escaped from the detention center. There were also other individuals who supported protests at the prison for men in Lorton, Virginia by setting fires in the detention center.
See the 22 April 1968 story to learn about National Welfare Rights Organization activists who were arrested and taken to the Women’s Detention Center after protesting changes to welfare legislation by an overwhelming white and male Congress.
Your comments are welcome below. Do you, family members or neighbors remember the Women’s Detention Center? Were you detained in the Women’s Detention Center? Did you work at the Women’s Detention Center? Do you remember the chorus? Do you have any photographs or memorabilia? You may comment privately here.
Photo source: Courtesy DCPL Special Collections, Evening Star Photo Collection. 4 January 1970. Photographer unknown.