Jacob Lang has been awaiting trial without bail in the D.C. jail for his involvement in the January 6 riot at the Capitol for almost a year, along with many others who have been charged with crimes connected to that day. With no trial date in sight, he and his fellow inmates languish in a jail they say is inhumane. The J6 prisoners’ complaints about filthy conditions and inhumane treatment resulted in a surprise inspection that found everything they were saying was true. As a result, over 400 prisoners were moved to different facilities—none of them J6 prisoners.
Lang has been in contact with PJ Media and several other media sources and was recently giving an interview on Newsmax TV when the jail cut off his phone access. Afterward, Lang reported to PJ Media that the jail took away all access to the internet and cut off phone privileges for all the detainees. They are now on lockdown and Lang says he’s not even able to call his lawyer.
Regardless of what crimes these people are charged with, there is a protocol for how prisoners are supposed to be treated, especially pre-trial detainees who have the presumption of innocence. None of that seems to have been followed in the cases involving the J6 arrestees.
In a text sent to PJ Media by Lang’s family, Lang wrote, “I am being held in true solitary confinement, locked in my cell 22 hours a day. In response to my viral Newsmax interview yesterday, where the D.C. jail cut my interview mid-sentence, and the automated message rung [sic] out on live national TV, ‘this call is being terminated by the jail.’ I have now been completely cut off from the outside world! They have suspended my phone and tablet access. I cannot talk to my family or my attorney. I literally have nothing left but food and my Bible.”
Lang says he has “no lawyer access, no visitation, no calls, no haircuts, and no religious services.”
Lang is charged with assaulting a police officer and was seen on video wielding a baseball bat. He claims it was in self-defense and in the defense of others who were suffocating to death and being trampled. Lang also claims he did not bring the bat but found it on the ground. Lang says that police were attacking people, including Roseanne Boyland, who died after being pulled out from the bottom of a pile of people Lang says police created.
On December 27, a few days before the Newsmax interview, Lang spoke to PJ Media and said that the solitary confinement began before Christmas in response to alleged covid outbreaks. Lang says he doesn’t know anyone who is sick in his jail pod. “We are literally being mentally tortured in here,” he said. “Solitary confinement over 10 days was ruled by the Geneva convention to be cruel and unusual punishment and I’ve lived like that the first 200 days I got to this jail.” After that, the prisoners were given five hours a day out of their cells, which Lang says is a little better. But that all changed before Christmas. “Now we’re back to this 22-hour lockdown and two hours out a day.”
“They let out two or three people at a time so we get minor human interaction,” he said. “There are some people in here who have really been drained by this.”
Lang says they are treated like animals. “We are considered innocent until proven guilty and we are supposed to have all of our rights afforded to us except our freedom of movement,” he said. “Our privacy rights are supposed to be maintained. Our freedom of speech rights are supposed to be maintained. How could I have my freedom of speech rights if I’m locked in a cell away from my lawyer, away from my family, away from doing interviews?”
Lang is growing increasingly frustrated as no trial date has been set and there is no end in sight for how long he will be held without a trial. “I’ve lived [for] a year like this…they blame everything on covid. Where is it in the Constitution that during a bad flu season you can suspend everyone’s rights?”
The Washington Post reported on the massive lockdowns at the D.C. jail related to Covid in April and no one did anything about it.
“It is a very dangerous situation that you describe,” said Craig Haney, a psychology professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz who has studied the effects of solitary confinement. Haney said a year of “23 and 1” lockdown would ordinarily be reserved for those who commit extraordinary breaches of prison rules, most likely involving acts of violence.
The psychological and physical harms that such prolonged isolation can cause are legion, he added: depression, anxiety, heart disease, erosion of a sense of self and exacerbation of any existing mental illness, diabetes or hypertension. Those problems can last well after an inmate’s release.
“I understand that prisons and jails have been confronted with an extraordinary problem,” Haney said. “But this is not the solution.”
In Lang’s last communication after the Newsmax event, he sounded despondent. “I feel utterly abandoned by my country,” he said.
MOMENTS AGO: In the middle of an interview with Newsmax’s ‘American Agenda,’ Jan 6 inmate Jake Lang’s phone connection was “terminated by the facility” as he described conditions he’s living in while behind bars.@HeatherChilders @BobSellersTV pic.twitter.com/KfCYLEFIvo
— Newsmax (@newsmax) December 29, 2021
PJ Media reached out to the public information officer for the Department of Corrections, Dr. Keena Blackmon, for comment on solitary confinement protocols but was unable to reach her in time for publishing. If she does respond, the article will be updated.