Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene on Thursday visited the D.C. jail and reported that detainees charged in connection with the Capitol riot were “suffering greatly.”
The Georgia Republican said her visiting the detainees in the “Patriot” wing of the D.C. Central Treatment Facility “was like walking into a prisoner of war camp and seeing men [whose] eyes can’t believe someone had made it in to see them.”
Mrs. Greene said they have “virtually no medical care, very poor food quality, and [are] being put through re-education which most of them are rejecting.”
She said the detainees “have felt forgotten and hopeless” and that she was “greeted by men with overwhelming cheers who rushed out to meet me with tears streaming down their faces.”
The lawmaker is planning to release a report about the visit and said she is committed to bringing an end to this “political war.”
Mrs. Greene and other Republican lawmakers have been complaining for months about alleged mistreatment of the detainees.
She and Rep. Louie Gohmert, Texas Republican, tried to visit the detainees on Wednesday but were turned away by jail staff who said they did not receive the required approval for a tour. They were also denied access to the jail over the summer.
“After months of requesting access with letter after letter and call after call, D.C. city officials finally allowed entry to the detention facility to conduct oversight and monitor holding conditions of inmates,” Mrs. Greene said in a statement.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, told The Washington Times on Friday that several members of Congress asked for a tour of “our [Department of Corrections] facilities and why not let them in if we’re conducting a tour.”
“I think that would send an entirely wrong message to say that there’s something to hide at the D.C. Jail,” Miss Bowser said.
Mrs. Greene‘s visit came the same day a Jan. 6 detainee was released from the jail after a federal judge ruled that staff likely will not provide the cancer treatment he needs.
U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth granted Chris Worrell’s petition for release on Wednesday, less than a month after holding two top D.C. Department of Corrections officials in contempt for failing to provide him proper medical treatment.
According to Mr. Worrell’s lawyer, Alex Stavrou, the judge said that the “court has zero confidence that the D.C. jail will provide the treatment required by the defendant’s condition” and “will not retaliate against Worrell as they recently have against” others.
Mr. Worrell is a Florida resident accused of using pepper spray against police during the riot. He had been incarcerated at the facility since March 12 and has pleaded not guilty to charges including obstruction of Congress and assaulting a police officer.
Other Jan. 6 detainees also have complained about mistreatment by jail staff, including being denied access to food and water and being subjected to excessive solitary confinement.
Mr. Stavrou estimates at least 40 other Jan. 6 detainees are housed at the jail under the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
On Monday, the Marshals Service said it inspected the CTF in October and did not find “conditions that would necessitate the transfer of inmates from that facility at this time.”
The Marshals, however, said all 400 inmates in its custody at a sister facility, known as the Central Detention Facility, will be transferred due to unsanitary conditions and mistreatment by jail staff. Those prisoners will be sent to a penitentiary in Pennsylvania.
The Marshal Service inspections followed Judge Lamberth issuing the contempt charges on calling on the Justice Department to look into “potential civil rights violations of January 6 defendants” by jail staff.
Although the judge had requested a review specifically related to the Jan. 6 detainees, the Marshals Service said the decision to inspect both facilities was “prompted by recent and historical concerns raised regarding conditions at the D.C. DOC facilities, including those recently raised by various members of the judiciary.”
Mrs. Greene said her report will also include what she saw at the CDF, where she has “never seen human suffering like I witnessed last night.”
“Some inmates were receiving continuing education classes, others were truly suffering from long stays in solitary confinement for ‘bad behavior,’” she said. “I’ll never forget hearing their screams.”