Marshals who conducted a surprise audit at the D.C. jail where those accused of rioting on Jan. 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol are held, announced worrisome “deficiencies” in the treatment of the accused.
Following allegations made by the lawyers of Robert Gieswein, one of those accused of rioting during the incidents at the Capitol, indicating special mistreatment of their client, the authorities ordered an audit of the prison and a report on the matter.
As reported by the Washington Examiner, the report released Monday in the case file gives credence to the claims made by Gieswein’s defenders.
Marshals conducted a surprise inspection of the prison a couple of months ago. Acting U.S. Marshal for the District of Columbia Lamont Ruffin said in the report that officials found “evidence of systemic failures” in the treatment of inmates.
Among the evidence that led to raising alarm bells of concern was the confirmed cutting off of water to inmates as punishment.
In another filing in Gieswein’s case, U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves said marshals have been monitoring conditions at the D.C. jail and “observed additional deficiencies in their monitoring, including several irregularities.”
According to the report, conditions at the jail are so poor that 400 prisoners were transferred to a federal prison in Pennsylvania. However, the prosecution ruled that inmates involved in the Capitol conflicts should remain there.
Faced with this situation, the court ordered the service to submit a report on the conditions in the brig. According to Graves, the service will provide that report to federal judges in Washington later this week.
There are also some confirmed instances of abuse of authority over the Jan. 6 inmates, which are still under investigation.
Federal District Judge Royce Lamberth held officials at that same jail in contempt in October 2021 for violating the civil rights of a Jan. 6 defendant by preventing access to medical care. The following month, he ordered the defendant’s release precisely because of this issue.
Separately, a court filing indicates, several defendants in the Capitol riots were taken from their cells on stretchers on Nov. 11, 2021, after a chemical described as “some sort of pepper spray” was sprayed on their bodies.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), along with other members of the Republican Party, criticized a few weeks ago the treatment of “political prisoners” who participated in the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” demonstration.
According to Greene, the Jan. 6 prisoners held in the D.C. jail have been beaten by guards and prison staff, have not been able to talk to their lawyers, have been denied haircuts or razors to shave with, and have not received proper medical treatment when needed, among many other examples.
Greene highlighted another peculiarity of the Jan. 6 defendants controversial situation: usually, Greene said, members of Congress have no problem gaining access to prisons when they make the request. However, this was not the case; the institution’s deputy director, Kathleen Landerkin, denied Greene and her coalition access to the facility several times before allowing the representatives access.
Greene and her colleagues released a full report titled “Unusually Cruel: An Eyewitness Report from Inside the D.C. Jail” detailing other instances of mistreatment of the Jan. 6 defendants.