- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A Maryland woman said D.C. corrections officials failed to inform her family of her son’s stabbing in jail.

Antoine L. Wilkins, 32, of Hyattsville, who is now in protective custody, was stabbed nine times at the jail on June 14, said his mother, Rosemary Wilkins.

“I got a call from the hospital” a day later, Miss Wilkins told The Washington Times. “I asked them what happened and they said they weren’t at liberty to tell me.”

Bill Meeks, a spokesman for S. Elwood York Jr., interim director of the D.C. Department of Corrections, told The Times “the matter is under investigation.”

The stabbing is the first reported incident at the jail this year and the third since a spate of stabbings in December 2002.

Miss Wilkins said it took two days for D.C. officials to confirm the incident after she learned about her son’s stabbing.

“They said they had contacted the family,” she said, “and I am here to tell you that nobody ever called me and they didn’t call his father, either.”

Miss Wilkins said she is not sure why her son was targeted. “I heard it was a pocketknife,” she said.

Her son, she said, is in jail for missing a court date in March on cocaine possession charges.

The jail has had numerous problems since the mid-1990s, including complaints about living conditions and escapes.

In 2002, two inmates were stabbed to death in less than a week.

Also that year, the jail emerged from a 17-year-old, court-ordered limit of 1,670 inmates. The number of inmates immediately increased to more than 2,000.

Deputy Mayor Edward D. Reiskin, in charge of public safety and justice issues, said earlier this month that the overcrowding problem will worsen because a nearby facility that houses inmates will have to be closed. He cited a lack of funds to rent the space and an inability to fill 47 staff positions.

Mayor Anthony A. Williams, a Democrat, has called for an increase in the Corrections Department’s budget from $121 million this year to $142 million in fiscal 2006. The council cut his proposal to $138 million.

The city sends its most violent offenders to the federal government until they can be assigned to prisons across the country.


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