One of the political prisoners being held in jail for participating in the Capitol riot, Nathan DeGrave, sent a letter that was released on Twitter alleging horrific conditions in the D.C. jail for January 6 prisoners. DeGrave’s letter alleged “extreme medical neglect,” mental and physical abuse, “unlivable conditions,” dirty water, and starvation. His allegations resulted in a surprise inspection to back up his claims.
Dear fellow Americans:
I never thought I'd write a letter like this, but we’re living in very different times. This is my cry for help.
My name is Nathan DeGrave, and as a non violent participant at the Jan 6th rally, I’ve spent the last 9 months detained
— Brad Geyer (@BradGeyer) October 29, 2021
According to the Washington Post, “the unannounced inspection, from Oct. 18 to Oct. 23, began five days after a federal judge in Washington found the jail warden, Wanda Patten, and D.C. Corrections Director Quincy Booth in contempt of court in a case involving the alleged mistreatment of a detainee charged in the Capitol riot.”
Judge Royce C. Lamberth found that “jail officials ‘abused’ the civil rights of the defendant, Christopher Worrell,” due to neglecting his wrist injury that required surgery. Lamberth then called for a full investigation into the treatment of the J6 prisoners.
The surprise inspection by Lamont J. Ruffin, the acting marshal for U.S. District Court in Washington, has resulted in the transfer of 400 prisoners to a different facility, but none of them will be J6 detainees. According to the Washington Post, the inspection found “evidence of systemic mistreatment of detainees, including unsanitary living conditions and the punitive denial of food and water,” just like DeGrave’s letter claimed. Not only that, but the officials found “large amounts of standing human sewage… in the toilets of multiple occupied cells,” and staff members were observed “antagonizing detainees” and “directing detainees to not cooperate” with the inspectors.
Ruffin’s letter, sent to multiple law enforcement agencies and judges, said there was “evidence of drug use” and that “the facility had a strong smoke and odor of marijuana.” Ruffin went on to report that “the smell of urine and feces was overpowering in many locations” while “food delivery and storage” were not sufficient. “Hot meals were observed served cold and congealed,” he wrote.
The letter also corroborated another allegation in DeGrave’s letter stating that “detainees had observable injuries with no corresponding medical or incident reports,” and that “water and food appeared to be withheld from detainees for punitive reasons.”
But why won’t the J6 detainees— the ones who alerted the authorities to the terrible conditions— be moved?
The move will not involve about 120 federal detainees, including about 40 defendants who face federal charges in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, who are being held in the corrections department’s Correctional Treatment Facility (CTF), the Marshals Service said. That facility is located with the jail in Southeast Washington.
Ruffin, who ordered the inspection, said that conditions at the CTF “were observed to be largely appropriate and consistent with federal prisoner detention standards,” and that the problems were primarily in the main jail.
This makes no sense. A judge found that J6 detainee Worrell was abused by the jailers. Not only that but DeGrave’s letter details exactly the conditions that were found. How can Ruffin claim that J6 prisoners are not being abused when one of them described what Ruffin found, almost exactly, and the other has been found in a court of law to have been severely wronged by the jail, which led to the inspection?
The injustices toward the J6 political prisoners, none of whom have been charged with “treason,” continues. Most of them are in jail on non-violent trespassing charges or disorderly conduct charges which would normally be a ticketable offense with no jail time and possibly probation, and yet they are being treated like Guantanamo detainees with no relief in sight. Will they get away with this? If history is any indication, the answer is most certainly yes.