A federal appeals court has ordered the District of Columbia to pay $1.3 million in fines because of its failure to alleviate crowded conditions at the city-run Lorton Reformatory in Fairfax County, Va.

"The district has for years been aware of recurrent overcrowding in its prison, and has not taken steps adequate to eradicate the problem," the court stated in its decision Friday. The judges also faulted the city for failing to build a "sorely needed new prison facility" or to find other solutions.The fines were originally imposed by a U.S. District Court judge last year, and have been increasing at a rate of about $5,000 per day since then. The city immediately challenged the fines and refused to pay anything until its appeal was ruled upon.

On Friday, the appeals panel decided the city was out of time.