During the Revolutionary War, the British used a number of prison ships to hold captured American soldiers, sailors, and dissidents. Called “Hell” by its crew, the HMS Jersey held up to 11,000 prisoners – only 1400 of which were left alive at the end of the War. What happened to Americans during their incarcerations can only be called cruel and unusual.
The 8th Amendment to United States Constitution prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. However, it does not define what is meant although in is recognized in law to involve punishment disproportionate to an offense and torture (degradation and unnecessary infliction of pain). Unfortunately, both of these definitions have been and continue to be tested. The most current example being the treatment of Americans who protested election fraud at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
The disproportionate nature of the imprisonment of the January 6th protestors is obvious. When compared to the almost turnstile “pay and go” justice associated with the Kavanaugh hearing protests and the numerous nationwide ANTIFA/BLM attacks, the holding of January 6th protestors is not just disproportionate but horribly so. These prisoners, housed indefinitely in the DC jail, have been effectively “sentenced” without a trial, and without access to non-partisan judges. That is both cruel and unusual.
Torture during this imprisonment has also been reported. Notably, the specifics of the torture, when compared to the situation of the GITMO prisoners, are degrading. Whereas a GITMO prisoner had access to Islamic religious practices, January 6th protestors have apparently been denied access to Christian religious practices. Torture has also included denial or delays of medical care and basic cleanliness. Again, this is in contrast to the GITMO prisoners whose health and wellbeing were constantly addressed. Finally, and this is by no means the final word on torture, the January 6 protestors are held in extreme isolation conditions that allow for a few hours outside their cell for exercise or meetings with preapproved persons and attorneys. This contrasts with the GITMO prisoners who had far more humane treatment.
It has also been reported that January 6th prisoners have been beaten and physically injured while in their cells. Reports have filtered out that many black prison guards see the white protestors as racists – and react with racial animus. If this is the case, then the beatings, gassings, and other physical torture is unnecessary to control the inmates but is done to savage what is seen as a group of evil white people.
In order to escape the conditions in the DC prisons, January 6th protestors have been forced to appeal to “left leaning” judges by condemning the previous holder of the presidency, Donald Trump. Essentially, unless a January 6th prisoner prostrates himself on the altar of leftwing political correctness, he will not be able to escape incarceration. Since trial dates have been left to an all too often questionable future, the current incarceration amounts to an indeterminate long term or even life sentence. This is something far less than the 6th Amendment “right to a speedy trial” human rights enshrined in the Constitution.
At this point, the January 6th protestors are political prisoners. Incarceration in the DC Jail has proven to be both physically and mentally cruel, and it is amazing that none of these prisoners have died. (Unfortunately, many who have been released are now suffering from previous “denial of care” physical problems as well as mental problems similar to PTSD. One January 6th prisoner, still in his cell, is now on a hunger strike.) What happened on January 6th may be a disgrace but what is now happening in the DC jails is compounding and magnifying this disgrace. The American government has clearly and with malice usurped the constitutional rights of these American citizens.
One final point, Democrat leaders, now embracing socialism, have consistently demonstrated a dislike for and even hatred of the Constitution and its limits on government. Unfortunately, too many Republican leaders ignore these abuses of the Constitution. America is in trouble because the Constitution that protects us all is now being torn asunder.