Harsh Treatment of Jan 6 Detainees Justified

John Semmens

Despite the Constitution’s affirmation of a right to a speedy trial, persons suspected of crimes committed during the January 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol building continue to languish in jail. Part of this pre-trial and conviction punishment includes isolation from outside visitors. Living conditions are degraded by unsanitary conditions.

Brandon Fellows has been in the DC jail for almost a year. His alleged crime was smoking marijuana in the Capitol on Jan 6. A video of him in prison was smuggled out. In it he conducts a tour of his cell revealing frayed electric wires, mold, and an overflowing toilet. Neither he nor other Jan 6 inmates are allowed access to the cafeteria, gym, classrooms, outdoor areas, barber shop or religious services.

Attorney General Merrick Garland called the imprisonment of these individuals “warranted given the circumstances. The fact that Fellows may not be implicated in any insurrectionist activity doesn’t change the fact that he was in the building at the same time as others who may ultimately be charged with treason were. He could be a witness against them. The hardships he faces may help persuade him to testify against those who are guilty of insurrection. The complaint that the Jan 6 prisoners are being treated worse than the accused rapists and murderers in the jail is undeserved. None of these rapists and murderers pose as much danger to democracy as the Jan 6 traitors.”

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