A federal judge on Wednesday ruled Washington, D.C., Department of Corrections officials in contempt of court after they violated a detainee’s civil rights on Jan. 6 by disrupting their access to medical care.
big picture: The department has been the subject of heavy criticism from prisoners, lawyers and judges regarding its living conditions. Washington Post Report. During the pandemic, for nearly 400 days, the authorities implemented a 23-hour lockdown policy to enforce social distancing. The rule was relaxed this summer.
- Some lawyers have also said that the lack of computers, video conference rooms and guards, coupled with pandemic restrictions, prevents prisoners from seeking legal advice.
- US District Judge Royce Lamberth said he would ask the Justice Department to conduct a civil rights investigation.
What are they saying: “I have found that the defendant’s civil rights have been abused. I do not know whether it is because he is the January 6 defendant or not, but I think the matter should be referred to the United States Attorney General for Civil Rights. Inquiry into whether the D.C. Department of Corrections is violating the civil rights of the Jan. 6 defendants … in this and probably other cases,” Lamberth said at a hearing, according to the Washington Post.
- Lamberth did not impose any restrictions on prison officials, but suggested that if inmates are treated unfairly, they may have to be transferred out of the DC prison to other facilities, the Post notes.
Reference: The defendant in the case is Proud Boys member Christopher Worrell, who is facing multiple charges for his role in the January 6 Capitol uprising, including assaulting police and causing civil disorder. Reuters.