Prisoners’ rights groups — and even some Democratic legislators — are stepping in to end “extreme confinement” in a Washington, D.C., jail that’s currently housing accused Capitol rioters awaiting trial, after discovering that nearly all of the jail’s inmates are under lockdown 23 of 24 hours per day because of COVID-19 protocols.
“For almost 400 straight days, the entire population of the D.C. jail has been subjected to what experts say is essentially a form of mass solitary confinement — without some of the basic services afforded even to those in solitary during normal times,” the outlet added.
The prison’s library and barber are closed, and inmates are not allowed outdoors for recreational time because of what The Washington Post terms a “medical stay-in-place” policy.
Claims of 23-hour-a-day confinement came to light recently in a complaint filed by one of the defendants awaiting trial on charges stemming from the January 6th riot at the United States Capitol building. As The Daily Wire previously reported, Inmates, arrested as a result of those riots and awaiting adjudication, “have complained about being isolated and, in some cases, locked down for 23 of 24 hours per day.”
“For weeks, Capitol riot defendants being held in Washington have complained that they are locked in their cells with virtually no human contact for 23 hours a day,” Politico reported at the time.
At the time, a number of leftists on social media expressed a lack of sympathy for the Capitol riot defendants, with one even tweeting that, “Ya know, this wouldn’t be an issue if you hadn’t broken the law,” despite Politico’s report indicating that none of the defendants in question had yet been tried.
“These #MAGA morons thought that being white wouldn’t get them thrown in jail. Capitol riot defendants held in DC complain that they are locked in their cells with no human contact for 23 hours a day,” noted another.
But the majority of inmates in the D.C. jail where the alleged rioters are being held, Washington Post noted, are minorities, and the issue is so concerning, prisoners rights activists and even some prominent Democrats are getting involved.
“Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) fled the Capitol on Jan. 6 from a mob she later called domestic terrorists. Now she and another Senate Democratic leader are standing up for their attackers’ rights as criminal defendants,” Politico reported. “[s]uch treatment doesn’t sit well with Warren or Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), two of the chamber’s fiercest critics of solitary confinement.”
“There has to be a clear justification for that, in very limited circumstances,” Durbin said. He also suggested that the Senate Judiciary Committee could investigate the situation.
“Solitary confinement is a form of punishment that is cruel and psychologically damaging,” Warren said separately. “And we’re talking about people who haven’t been convicted of anything yet.”
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