Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) directly addressed concerns of political retaliation by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons against J6 political prisoners and specifically called out the outrageous treatment of Owen Shroyer and John Strand.
The Gateway Pundit reported that Infowars reporter and War Room host Owen Shroyer was sentenced to 60 DAYS IN PRISON in September in a DC kangaroo court for his actions on January 6, 2020 and before.
A recent update on X indicates that Shroyer is now facing an additional 30 days in solitary confinement.
The Gateway Pundit also reported that John Strand was sentenced to nearly 3 years (32 months) in prison and, despite the Bureau of Prison’s own scoring system, he was sent to a prison and placed in isolation.
J6 political prisoners have faced maltreatment and deplorable living conditions.
Congressman Gaetz directly addressed his concerns to The Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Colette Peters.
Rep. Gaetz: I was very heartened by your discussion of site visits to our prisons to get firsthand understanding of what’s going on there. Sometimes members of Congress have had challenges doing that. Could you give us some advice? If we wanted to glean those benefits and get that firsthand experience, what’s the best way for us to go about that with your team?
Director Peters: Thank you, Congressman. So if you have your team reach out to our office of Legislative Affairs, we will be happy to make that arrangement.
Rep. Gaetz: Thank you so much. Does the Bureau of Prisons retaliate against people based on political… on constitutionally protected speech?
Director Peters: I have been very clear that retaliation will not be stood for on my watch.
Rep. Gaetz: And you’re confident that that’s being observed throughout the Bureau?
Director Peters: I’m confident that message has been delivered. And if anyone engages in retaliation, we will hold them accountable.
Rep. Gaetz: Are you familiar with the matter of John Strand?
Director Peters: That name is not familiar to me.
Rep. Gaetz: So Mr. Strand was a witness at a hearing that we had regarding some of the civil rights concerns of people who’d interacted with the Department of Justice in January 6 matters. He was convicted, sentenced at FCI Miami. And I had received word that he had been placed into enhanced confinement and into higher acuity, securing as a consequence of information that others had put out on his Twitter feed. So does that ring a bell to you?
Director Peters: Congressman, I wouldn’t be able to speak to an individual’s circumstances regarding their behavior inside our institutions. What I can assure you is that if an individual is placed in our special housing unit, it would be for conduct that happened inside the institution.
Rep. Gaetz: So what’s a special housing unit?
Director Peters: A special housing unit is one of our restrictive housing placements that could include disciplinary segregation, protective custody, and would house individuals that either were at harm to harm themselves or others or had actually engaged in misbehavior inside our institution.
Rep. Gaetz: What I’m worried about is that Mr. Strand gave us testimony about some of his concerns. And as you know, people give us testimony. We sort through what’s right and wrong and should be acted on and shouldn’t be acted on. It’s not gospel. It’s just testimony. But then thereafter, people were posting on some of his social media platforms his concerns about the treatment he’d received at the Bureau. And then I sent a letter to you concerned about that, because, like you, I don’t want anyone retaliated against for constitutionally protected speech. And thereafter, I got a letter back from the aforementioned Office of Legislative Affairs in your office, and they say, in part, Mr. Strand was moved to a secure housing unit with increased supervision and frequent employee contact on September 26, 2023, pending completion of an investigation. So I guess my question is, is that, like, akin to what we would normally think about as solitary confinement? Those words, secure housing unit with increased supervision and frequent employee contact.
Director Peters: We would use the word restrictive housing.
Rep. Gaetz: Okay, so what’s this, then? Because this guy’s a nonviolent. He was never violent toward anyone. So I’m just wondering why the assets that we fund for the highest acuity, violent people would be used for this purpose.
Director Peters: Congressman, we use that special housing unit for individuals that engage in any sort of misconduct inside our institutions. I don’t know what he was found to be guilty of by our hearings. Administrative process that would warrant his need to go into restrictive housing, but I assure you, we have administrative processes that people have to go through before those placements actually occur.
Rep. Gaetz: Yeah, I get that you can’t know the conditions of every single prisoner throughout the Bureau. This is one I’ve ripened and sent to you because I am worried that throughout our Department of Justice and what we’ve endured, that there are some people who are sort of being used as pawns and they’re being mistreated in order to send a message to other people. And I’m grateful that you’ve said here that is not your doctrine. You don’t want to see that happen. But you also haven’t been able to share with us an entire confidence that that isn’t happening in some cases, and I’m worried that it’s happening here. Have you heard of the matter of Owen Schrayer?
Director Peters: No. That name is not familiar to me.
Rep. Gaetz: Very similar fact pattern. Somebody who’d sort of spoken out, was prominent in the public, was convicted as a consequence of activities on January 6, and now feels as though there’s specific Bureau of Prison Retaliation. I don’t think any group of people should be retaliated again. So I look forward to taking you up on the offer to perhaps go and do some site visits and see how people are being treated and get that information directly. So I hope I get prompt cooperation from OLA.
I’m looking forward to taking up Director Peters on her offer for on-site visits to investigate how J6 defendants are being treated. pic.twitter.com/pNedDMLfIT
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) November 7, 2023