Marjorie Taylor Greene, James Comer ask Muriel Bowser to see jail conditions for Jan. 6 detainees

Republicans on the House Oversight Committee want a tour of the D.C. Department of Correctional facilities where Jan. 6 detainees are locked up.

In a letter to D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Georgia Republican and James Comer, Kentucky Republican, listed numerous accusations of abuse against Jan. 6 detainees in the D.C. jail facilities and requested Ms. Bowser arrange for a congressional delegation to visit and review the facilities.

The letter, sent Thursday evening, says that Oversight panel lawmakers also want to interview Jan. 6 detainees and D.C. Department of Correction employees.

“Eyewitness accounts of conditions at the DC Jail Facilities — particularly regarding the treatment of January 6 detainees — paint a picture of despair, hopelessness, and a severe abuse of justice. No prisoner in the United States should be treated in this fashion,” the letter states.

Ms. Greene described her findings about the treatment of the Jan. 6 detainees in a report released in December 2021. The Georgia Republican toured the D.C. jail and, she said, detainees revealed to her evidence of “abuse and neglect” they had endured under the watch of Corrections employees.

One inmate claimed to have been beaten by other detainees and not given medical treatment. Another detainee said he had had to use the same contact lenses for at least six months. One inmate, Ms. Greene’s letter stated, showed evidence of a fractured bone left untreated.

Other accusations from Jan. 6 inmates included being denied counsel, religious material, communion and access to their families.

According to the letter, there were accusations of food being served with chemicals or other substances and of food allergies not being accommodated.

Detainees not tied to the Jan. 6, Thursday’s letter says, received better treatment in the jail.

“Rep. Greene witnessed non-January 6 detainees receiving instruction from law school students about how to handle their pending matters in court,” the letter stated.

The Georgia Republican said she witnessed non-Jan. 6 detainees participating in the Justice Policy Institute’s DC’s Young Men Emerging Unit, in which, “unlike a traditional correctional unit, the walls are bright, vibrant, and decorated” and “the residents [have] retrofitted cells into workforce development opportunities, including a barber shop.”

She said she did not see any Jan. 6 detainee being allowed to participate in this program, and its facilities stand in contrast with the rest of the jail’s facilities.

A team of eight U.S. Marshals conducted an unannounced inspection and review of the D.C. jail from Oct. 18 to Oct. 23, 2021, after a U.S. District Court found that DOC Director Quincy Booth and Warden Wanda Patten violated a detainee’s civil rights.

“The team inspected the facility and interviewed more than 300 detainees and found ‘egregious’ conditions at the DC Jail Facilities. However, on October 24, 2021, DC DOC employees ordered the marshals to leave the DC Jail Facilities. One marshal said he ‘ha[d] never seen a jail bar marshals from entering,’” the letter states.

The acting U.S. Marshal concluded the preliminary review as finding “evidence of ‘systemic’ mistreatment of detainees” and forwarded the results to the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

Although the Justice Department announced 400 Jan. 6 detainees would be transferred from D.C. jail, the Oversight Committee said that, as far as it knows, “none of the January 6-detainees were part of the group removed from the DC Jail Facilities.”

Giving the DOC a two-week deadline, the Oversight Committee asked for all documents and communications that include:

• Jan. 6 detainees’ waiver of a speedy trial

• Jan. 6 detainees’ complaints regarding their cell conditions, sanitary conditions, access to food, access to legal counsel, access to materials relevant to their legal defense, and access to religious material and/or rites

• Jan. 6 detainees’ complaints regarding their cell conditions, sanitary conditions, access to food, access to legal counsel, access to materials relevant to their legal defense, and access to religious material and/or rites

According to Ms. Greene, although Oversight Committee lawmakers are interested in touring the D.C. jail facilities, she told reporters that she is opening up the tour to lawmakers outside the committee and on both sides of the aisle. 

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