Author Archive for Jason Cherkis

St. Elizabeths: New Building, Same Old Abuses

Today, University Legal Services, a non-profit legal service agency federally mandated to provide advocacy and oversight for D.C. residents with disabilities, published its third report on conditions at St. Elizabeths Hospital. While the lawyers praised the opening of the new hospital, it still found that individuals' care hadn't improved: "the same issues that have been [...]

District Putting Homeless Up In Hotels

When the District government has to put up homeless families in hotels, it's a sign—perhaps even an important sign—that the city's shelter space has been and continues to be inadequate for families. WaPo is reporting today that the District has started housing a small number of families in hotels. Homeless advocates and attorneys have been [...]

City Paper Cover Story Subject Arrested

On Jan. 7, Jumiya Crump, the subject of a recent Washington City Paper cover story on the plight of kids in the city's child-welfare system, was arrested and charged with destruction of property.
The arrest—the day after the story appeared in the paper—is just the latest setback in the teenager's two-year odyssey through [...]

‘Pepco Sucks Ass’

Updated below.
Dispatch from a Silver Spring source, who lives right over the D.C. line and still doesn't have power:  "Pepco sucks ass. Forty-four hours with no power and no relief in sight. I was so fucking angry I left my home at 12:30 after midnight to drive the streets looking for a Pepco truck. I [...]

Colby King’s Modest Proposal

In Colby King's Saturday column, he came out in favor of a tax increase for the city's elite. But with one crucial caveat:
"Speaking personally, I'm good to go with more taxes if it will prevent unwarranted pain and suffering, particularly for fellow residents unable to help themselves and their children.
But the idea of [...]

Borders Should Just Die Already

Last week, Housing Complex decided that it's OK not to mourn Borders' money problems. The book chain is ugly and located on busy streets (downtown, Friendship Heights) or tucked into mega-complexes (Pentagon City, White Flint Mall). Yes. It is ugly and located in non-neighborhoody spots.
And it's so much more. It has the same selection as [...]

Is CFSA’s Roque Gerald Fudging Stats (Part 2)?

This past Saturday, we questioned D.C. Child and Family Services Agency Director Roque Gerald's weird WaPo editorial in which he claimed residential treatment placements hit an "historic low of 44 in 2010."
Today we come to you with more proof that Gerald is wrong.

Is CFSA Director Roque Gerald Fudging Stats?

In today's WaPo, Child and Family Services Agency Director Roque Gerald finally responds at length to a series of critical pieces about his agency.  Some of the recent pieces argued that the agency doesn't respond adequately when calls are made to its hotline, that residential treatment centers are overused, and with my own story on [...]

Jared Loughner Story Is A Sad Cliche

Today, the Washington Post chronicled Jared Loughner's journey from IHOP-loving Normal to alleged Killer. The AP wrote its own Loughner bio with shitty poetry. These stories were your typical five-days-since-Tragedy  stockpile of reporting, fast-paced Dateline-esque narrative, and limp attempts at explaining mental illness (From WaPo: "And then Jared Loughner slipped into a world of fantasy [...]

The One City Official Who Understood Jumiya Crump

Among the dozens and dozens of District government e-mails related to Jumiya Crump's child-welfare case, chronicled in this week's cover story, only one city official seemed to really get it. City lawyers and even Jumiya's own advocates were fixed on shipping the teenager out of state to a residential facility—a costly and dubious treatment practice. [...]

Watch: D.C. Youth Has Arm Broken By Staff At Treatment Facility

This security footage was shot at KidsPeace Mesabi Academy in 2007. I uncovered it as part of my research on the District's costly use of residential treatment centers. The restraints that you see on this video caused the youth's arm to break. Minnesota officials investigated the incident and cleared the orderlies, arguing that the restrain [...]

The Saddest Holiday Video You Will See This Year

This is sad unless you like city leaders failing to implement a tax reform bill they already passed. If the D.C. Council doesn't act, the DC Fiscal Policy Institute believes the city could face another $20 million in budget cuts. Enjoy the grainy footage, sad music, and scary stats:

DYRS Chief Suggests Agency Had Considered Letting Absconders Go

In an e-mail obtained by Washington City Paper, DYRS Chief Robert Hildum suggests that the agency may want ease up on going after juveniles who've absconded from the system. You can read the full story on the Loose Lips blog.

Is D.C. General Suitable For Children?

That's the question attorney Matthew Fraidin was tasked with finding out. Fraidin, an associate professor at UDC's David A. Clarke School of Law and visiting professor at Georgetown University, had been tapped by Councilmember Tommy Wells to investigate the conditions at D.C. General's emergency family shelter and figure out if the abandoned hospital was a [...]

Advocates Urge Gray To Vote Against Homeless Bill

Remember that homeless bill that the New York Times editorial board slammed as inhumane? The one that every nonprofit in the District condemned? The residency-requirement bill that the city's CFO stated would produce zero cost savings? Tomorrow, Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells is going to put it up for a vote. Just in time for [...]