Code of the District of Columbia

§ 22–2603.01. Definitions.

For the purposes of this subchapter, the term:

(1) “Cellular telephone or other portable communication device and accessories thereto” means any device carried, worn, or stored that is designed, intended, or readily converted to create, receive or transmit oral or written messages or visual images, access or store data, or connect electronically to the Internet, or any other electronic device that enables communication in any form. The term “cellular telephone or other portable communication device and accessories thereto” includes portable 2-way pagers, hand-held radios, cellular telephones, Blackberry-type devices, personal digital assistants or PDAs, computers, cameras, and any components of these devices. The term “cellular telephone or other portable communication device and accessories thereto” also includes any new technology that is developed for communication purposes and includes accessories that enable or facilitate the use of the cellular telephone or other portable communication device.

(2)(A) “Class A Contraband” means:

(i) Any item, the mere possession of which is unlawful under District of Columbia or federal law;

(ii) Any controlled substance listed or described in Unit A of Chapter 9 of Title 48 [§ 48-901.01 et seq.] or any controlled substance scheduled by the Mayor pursuant to § 48-902.01;

(iii) Any dangerous weapon or object which is capable of such use as may endanger the safety or security of a penal institution or secure juvenile residential facility or any person therein, including,:

(I) A firearm or imitation firearm, or any component of a firearm;

(II) Ammunition or ammunition clip;

(III) A stun gun, as defined in § 7-2501.01(17A);

(IV) Flammable liquid or explosive powder;

(V) A knife, screwdriver, ice pick, box cutter, needle, or any other object or tool that can be used for cutting, slicing, stabbing, or puncturing a person;

(VI) A shank or homemade knife; or

(VII) Tear gas, pepper spray, or other substance that can be used to cause temporary blindness or incapacitation;

(iv) Any object designed or intended to facilitate an escape;

(v) Handcuffs, security restraints, handcuff keys, or any other object designed or intended to lock, unlock, or release handcuffs or security restraints;

(vi) A hacksaw, hacksaw blade, wire cutter, file, or any other object or tool that can be used to cut through metal, concrete, or plastic;

(vii) Rope; or

(viii) When possessed by, given to, or intended to be given to an inmate or securely detained juvenile, a correctional officer’s uniform, law enforcement officer’s uniform, medical staff clothing, any other uniform, or civilian clothing.

(B) The term “Class A contraband” does not include any object or substance which a person is authorized to possess in the penal institution or secure juvenile residential facility by the director of the penal institution or secure juvenile residential facility and that is in the form or quantity for which it was authorized.

(3)(A) “Class B Contraband” means:

(i) Any alcoholic liquor or beverage;

(ii) A hypodermic needle or syringe or other item that can be used for the administration of unlawful controlled substances; or

(iii) A cellular telephone or other portable communication device and accessories thereto.

(B) The term “Class B contraband” does not include any object or substance which a person is authorized to possess in the penal institution or secure juvenile residential facility by the director of the penal institution or secure juvenile residential facility and that is in the form or quantity for which it was authorized.

(4)(A) “Class C Contraband” means any article or thing which a person confined in a penal institution or secure juvenile residential facility is prohibited from obtaining or possessing by rule. The Mayor, pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2 [§ 2-501 et seq.], shall promulgate by rulemaking the articles or things that are Class C contraband. The rules shall be posted in the facility to give notice of the prohibited articles or things.

(B) The term “Class C contraband” does not include any object or substance which a person is authorized to possess in the penal institution or secure juvenile residential facility by the director of the penal institution or secure juvenile residential facility and that is in the form or quantity for which it was authorized.

(5) “Grounds” means the area of land occupied by the penal institution or secure juvenile residential facility and its yard and outbuildings, with a clearly identified perimeter.

(6) “Penal institution” means any penitentiary, prison, jail, or secure facility owned, operated, or under the control of the Department of Corrections, whether located within the District of Columbia or elsewhere.

(7) “Secure juvenile residential facility” means a locked residential facility providing custody, supervision, and care for one or more juveniles that is owned, operated, or under the control of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services, excluding residential treatment facilities and accredited hospitals.


(Dec. 15, 1941, 55 Stat. 800, ch. 572, § 1; June 25, 1948, 62 Stat. 991, ch. 646, § 32(b); May 24, 1949, 63 Stat. 107, ch. 139, § 127; July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 572, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 155(c)(30); redesignated § 2, Dec. 10, 2009, D.C. Law 18-88, § 210, 56 DCR 7413; Nov. 6, 2010, D.C. Law 18-259, § 5, 57 DCR 5591; June 3, 2011, D.C. Law 18-377, § 10(a), 58 DCR 1174; May 19, 2017, D.C. Law 21-281, § 3, 64 DCR 1648.)

Prior Codifications

2001 Ed., § 22-2603.

1981 Ed., § 22-2603.

1973 Ed., § 22-2603.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 18-88 rewrote the section, which had read as follows: “Any person, not authorized by law, or by the Mayor of the District of Columbia, or by the Director of the Department of Corrections of the District of Columbia, who introduces or attempts to introduce into or upon the grounds of any penal institution of the District of Columbia, whether located within the District of Columbia or elsewhere, any narcotic drug, weapon, or any other contraband article or thing, or any contraband letter or message intended to be received by an inmate thereof, shall be guilty of a felony, and, upon conviction thereof in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia or in any court of the United States, shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than 10 years.”

D.C. Law 18-259, in par. (3)(A)(iii), substituted “telephone, cell phone accessories,” for “telephone”.

D.C. Law 18-377 rewrote pars. (1) and (3)(A)(iii), which formerly read:

“(1) ‘Cellular telephone or other portable communication device’ means any device carried, worn, or stored that is designed, intended, or readily converted to create, receive, or transmit verbal or written messages or visual images, access or store data, or connect electronically to the Internet or any other electronic device and which allows communications in any form. The term ‘cellular telephone or other portable communication device’ includes portable 2-way pagers, hand-held radios, cellular telephones, Blackberry-type devices, personal digital assistants or PDAs, computers, cameras, or any components of these devices which are intended to be used to assemble such devices. The term ‘ cellular telephone or other portable communication device’ also includes any new technology that is developed for similar purposes.”

“(iii) A cellular telephone, cell phone accessories, or other portable communication device.”

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3 of Stun Gun Regulation Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2017 (D.C. Act 22-31, Mar. 27, 2017, 64 DCR 3084).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 3 of Stun Gun Regulation Emergency Amendment Act of 2016 (D.C. Act 21-630, Jan. 24, 2017, 64 DCR 907).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 210 of Omnibus Public Safety and Justice Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-181, August 6, 2009, 56 DCR 6903).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 210 of Omnibus Public Safety and Justice Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-227, October 21, 2009, 56 DCR 8668).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 510(a) of Public Safety Legislation Sixty-Day Layover Emergency Amendment Act of 2010 (D.C. Act 18-693, January 18, 2011, 58 DCR 640).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 510(a) of Public Safety Legislation Sixty-Day Layover Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2011 (D.C. Act 19-45, April 20, 2011, 58 DCR 3701).

Change in Government

This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to a Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia (see Acts Relating to the Establishment of the District of Columbia and its Various Forms of Governmental Organization in Volume 1). Section 401 of Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1967 (see Reorganization Plans in Volume 1) transferred all of the functions of the Board of Commissioners under this section to a single Commissioner. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.