Sens. Warren, Durbin Speak Out on Treatment of Jan. 6 Capitol Breach Defendants

Sens. Warren, Durbin Speak Out on Treatment of Jan. 6 Capitol Breach Defendants
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) speaks at a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on March 1, 2021. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Jack Phillips

Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) are raising questions about the rights of people charged in connection with the Jan. 6 Capitol breach, saying that some are being held in solitary confinement—even before their trials have begun.

“Solitary confinement is a form of punishment that is cruel and psychologically damaging,” Warren said in an interview with Politico. “And we’re talking about people who haven’t been convicted of anything yet.”

Warren was responding to questions about the 300 or so individuals who were charged in connection to the breach. Most of those who were charged have been released on bond while they await trial, but a few dozen who have been deemed dangerous, high risk, or flight risks have been ordered held without bond.

Officials in Washington have placed some of the detainees in 23-hours-per day isolation, despite not having been convicted.

Warren said in the interview that she's concerned that the practice of holding some of the detainees in solitary confinement is a bid to "punish" the participants in the Jan. 6 riot or they're trying to “break them so that they will cooperate.”

Durbin, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he's alarmed that all of the detainees are being kept in "restrictive housing," which entails solitary confinement.

“There has to be a clear justification for that, in very limited circumstances,” he told Politico.

D.C. Department of Corrections spokesperson Keena Blackmon told Politico, “We appreciate the concern, patience, and support of our neighbors as we work to keep all within DOC safe, as well as support the public safety of all in the District.”

DOC officials didn't respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment by press time.

Some lawyers for the defendants, however, said the move is unconstitutional.

“This is not normal. It’s not normal to isolate people and make them eat on their floor,” said Marty Tankleff, who is representing Jan. 6 defendants Edward Lang and Dominic Pezzola.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) earlier this month said there needs to be a commission to investigate the breach.

“Today is the 100th day since the January 6th insurrection and assault on the Capitol and our Democracy,” Pelosi wrote in her letter on April 16. “On this 100th day, we are determined to seek the truth of January 6th. To do so, we must have a January 6th Commission. To that end, we have once again sent a proposal for such a Commission to the Republicans, modeled after the 9/11 Commission.”