Marjorie Taylor Greene, House Members Visit DC Jail

About a dozen House Republicans led by Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) and two Democrats toured the DC jail Friday to inspect conditions among 20 men involved in the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot were charged, and the two parties being held emerged with wildly different versions of what they saw.

Lawmakers met with some of the defendants, 17 of whom have been charged or convicted of assaulting police officers, and “they told us stories,” Greene later said.

Greene and Republicans from the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability organized the jail tour over complaints from Jan. 6 defendants and their families, some of whom are holding a nightly vigil in front of the huge brick building on D Street Southeast. Greene said among the allegations she heard were: “Stories of being denied medical treatment, stories of assault, stories of threats of rape.”

The two Democrats who attended the tour said prison conditions were unremarkable. They said prisons shouldn’t be luxury hotels and that the tour was a political stunt. Democrats have long accused Greene and Republicans of misleading the public about the Jan. 6 abuse of defendants in prison.

DC prison spokeswoman Keena Blackmon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“As far as I’m concerned, this passed absolutely with flying colors,” said Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-Tex.), “because the question is whether this is a humane existence.” Crockett, a former public defender and civil rights attorney at the Dallas area, said the prisons she visited in Texas and Arkansas were far worse.

“You all know what it is,” Crockett said. “It’s politics. It’s political theatre. And it’s sad because there’s a real conversation that we really need to have in this country about policing and prison conditions. But that’s not it.”

Rep. Robert Garcia (D-Calif.), who was also visiting, said the prison has a full medical team on call 24 hours a day and that the January 6 allegations of differential treatment of the defendants were “completely unfounded.” lie”. He said he was “surprised at how much freedom there was, they were able to freely interact with members of Congress.”

Garcia said each of the defendants had two computer tablets, one for entertainment and one for legal work, and could write to their families and contact their attorneys whenever they wanted. “You will be treated very fairly and appropriately,” Garcia said.

“The outrageous allegation that the January 6 defendants are political prisoners and were subjected to inferior treatment is a fraud,” Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.) said in a statement ahead of the tour. Both Crockett and Raskin noted that the January 6 defendants are being held at the newer Correctional Treatment Facility and not the older Central Detention Facility.

“The mainly black and brown inmates being held in the run-down and substandard central detention center are dying to move to the more modern, spacious and comfortable one [Correctional] Treatment facility where the January 6 defendants and convicts are now residing,” said Raskin, who did not attend the tour on Friday.

Shortcomings at DC’s prison became a national story in November 2021, when the US Marshals Service sent a letter to the city’s Corrections Department detailing the mistreatment of inmates and announcing plans to send about 400 people facing federal indictments , to be transferred to a prison in Lewisburg, Pa. The letter was sent amid growing January 6 complaints from defendants held at the correctional facility, but marshals found the punitive denial of food and water and unsanitary living conditions at the older central detention center and not where the accused from January 6 were held.

At the time, council members, attorneys and activists said they spent years, if not decades, trying to warn DC officials about jailtime mishaps. They expressed frustration that a federal agency had to step in to get the city to take significant action, following complaints from mostly white inmates.

“I am deeply concerned that we are only getting attention now after the January 6 insurgents drew attention to this issue,” DC councilor Trayon White Sr. (D-Ward 8) said at a hearing this month .

Since then, the Corrections Department chief has informed the City Council that it has implemented specific corrective action plans to address the concerns — with a focus on resolving issues in the areas of catering, cleanliness, grievance procedures and staff training. A law due to come into force in May would strengthen oversight of the facility.

Greene said the prison is cleaner than when she visited in 2021 and parts of the interior have been freshly painted, and that the Jan. 6 indictees are now allowed out of their cells. But she was adamant: “There’s a clear difference in how [Jan. 6 defendants] are going to be treated. It’s a two-tier justice system.” She said the non-Jan. 6 prisoners have access to educational programs and opportunities that the January 6 defendants do not have.


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