House Oversight Committee sends letter to D.C. mayor demanding ‘accountability’ for ‘inhumane’ treatment of Jan. 6 prisoners

by Summer Lane

Photo: Alamy

Three GOP House members have sent a letter on behalf of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability to Muriel Bowser, mayor of Washington, D.C., demanding accountability for the treatment of Jan. 6 prisoners.

The letter, which is dated March 9, was written by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., and Rep. Clay Higgins, R-La.

It highlighted troubling concerns related to the two major D.C. jail facilities (District of Columbia Central Detention Facility and District of Columbia Central Treatment Facility) and requested documents and information regarding those facilities.

“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,” the letter stated.

The Oversight Committee stated its intention to investigate reports that detainees have been “subjected to inhumane treatment while incarcerated at the DC Jail Facilities.”


“Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of the Committee visited the DC Jail Facilities in November 2021, despite repeated attempts by DC DOC to not allow that visit. Rep. Greene detailed her findings in a report released December 2021.

During Rep. Greene’s tour of the DC Jail Facilities, detainees showed her evidence of abuse and neglect they had suffered under DC DOC employees’ watch. One inmate reported being beaten by other detainees and not being provided care.

One detainee has written that he had had to use the same contact lenses for at least six months. Another showed evidence of having a fractured bone that was left untreated. Another reported being served food with chemicals or other substances in it.”

The letter also claims that while visiting the D.C. jail facilities, Rep. Greene “witnessed non-January 6 detainees receiving instruction from law school students about how to handle their pending matters in court. The January 6 detainees did not receive access to that seminar but, instead, told Rep. Greene they had been denied access to counsel or given the choice of either taking a shower, speaking with their families, or speaking with counsel. If the allegations made to Rep. Greene are true, these represent serious abuses by DC DOC of these detainees’ constitutional rights.”

The letter also voiced concern that Jan. 6 prisoners were being subjected to unusual forms of alleged punishment and neglect, such as non-functional toilet facilities, “cold and congealed” meals, and even supposed “evidence of drug use.”

Preceding the committee’s inquiry, their letter noted that DC Department of Corrections Director Quincy Booth and Warden Wanda Patten had previously been found in court to have allegedly violated a prisoner’s civil rights.

That case was referred to the DOJ, which then dispatched an eight-person U.S. Marshal team to the D.C. facilities to interview over 300 prisoners in 2021.

Following that review:

“The Acting U.S. Marshal summarized the preliminary review as finding “evidence of ‘systemic’ mistreatment of detainees” and forwarded the results to the DOJ Civil Rights Division. 15 In response, DOJ announced they would transfer 400 detainees from the DC Jail Facilities. 16 However, to the Committee’s knowledge, none of the January 6-detainees were part of the group removed from the DC Jail Facilities.”

The Oversight Committee has requested multiple documents and communications regarding the Jan. 6 detainees’ complaints, their waivers of a speedy trial, jail-related Covid policies, and all documents linked to the U.S. Marshal Service’s 2021 inspection.

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