Inspection finds DC jail conditions OK for Jan. 6 defendants

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Marshals Service said Tuesday that suspects being held in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection do not need to be removed from the District of Columbia jail complex despite their complaints about conditions there.

The Marshals completed an inspection of the Washington jail complex that holds both local defendants and federal defendants awaiting trial. The inspection came shortly after a federal judge held the District of Columbia’s corrections director and jail warden in contempt and asked the Justice Department to investigate whether inmates’ civil rights were being abused at the facility.

While the Marshals’ inspection found the building where 30 Jan. 6 defendants are being held to be sufficient, federal officials said they will be moving about 400 other inmates out of a secondary jail building after the inspection found conditions there did not meet minimum standards. They are being transferred to a facility in Pennsylvania.

Christopher Geldart, Washington’s deputy mayor for public safety and justice, said the allegations made by federal officials “are deeply concerning,” even as local officials work to repair the aging jail. He said city officials were working with the federal government to obtain the Marshals Service’s full report and have also asked for a copy of a recent inspection by the jail’s independent oversight body as well.

“We take seriously the responsibility of caring for justice-involved DC residents and believe they should remain in DC,” he said. “DOC leadership is evaluating moving inmates within the facility so that issues raised can be addressed efficiently and expeditiously.”

Attorney General Merrick Garland had said during congressional testimony last month that the Marshals were conducting the inspection and the Justice Department was “conducting a review” of the conditions at the jail.

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth had summoned the jail officials to court last month in the case of Christopher Worrell, a member of the Proud Boys who has been charged in the Jan. 6 attack, who was delayed medical care for a broken wrist. He had been recommended for surgery in June but still hadn’t undergone the procedure as of mid-October, in part due to a delay by jail officials in turning over medical documents. Worrell has been accused of attacking police officers with a pepper spray gel, and prosecutors have alleged he traveled to Washington and coordinated with Proud Boys leading up to the siege.

Other Jan. 6 defendants held at the jail have decried what they say are deplorable conditions there.

More than 630 people have been charged in the Jan. 6 insurrection, where thousands of pro-Trump supporters stormed the building in an effort to disrupt the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory.

Colleen Long
Colleen Long
The White House, law enforcement and legal affairs