WASHINGTON — The federal government announced plans Friday to build a 1,000-bed prison in the District of Columbia, where a crack cocaine epidemic and America's worst murder rate have taxed local facilities.
Bureau of Prisons Director J. Michael Quinlan said the proposed $80-million Metropolitan Detention Center will hold defendants in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service while they await trial. The facility is designed to help relieve severe overcrowding at the District of Columbia Jail.
"This institution will significantly enhance public safety by taking drug offenders and other violent criminals off the street while they are awaiting trial," Quinlan said.
Spurred in part by a bloody turf war between crack cocaine dealers, Washington last year had the nation's highest per capita murder rate, earning it the dubious title of "murder capital."