Jonathan Mellis is one of dozens of people who have been in painful custody at the Washington DC prison–the “American Gulag” or “DC Gitmo” –due to being at the Capitol protest of January 6, 2021. Last year, Mellis was denied release to attend his father’s funeral. His father was a Vietnam and Korean war veteran with two Purple Hearts, a Silver and Bronze star.
Here is Mellis’ complete letter with pleas for help:
My Dear Fellow Americans:
I feel like I have been buried alive. The darkness has closed in and the world has forgotten about us. The American people are totally unaware of the cruel and unusual treatment I have had to endure along with about three dozen other January 6 detainees. We are in the DC jail under such conditions that would make your skin crawl if you witnessed it with your own eyes. This old jail has a reputation going back decades for being Hell on Earth. I assure you that it is a special kind of Hell for the unlucky Trump supporters who find themselves inside these walls.
I was arrested almost a year ago. Since February 16, 2021 I have spent the vast majority of my life under strict solitary confinement. We are currently on 22 hour per day lockdown as I write this letter. I have also lived this last year of my life without being allowed to see my loved ones faces. We are not even offered video visitation like the rest of the jail. I feel lost and alone. In a weird way I am glad my family can’t see me because I look horrible. We are not offered shaving or barber services ever and only rarely do we have access to fingernail clippers. With long hair and a big beard I look like a caveman castaway. I am also pale from lack of sunlight and sickly from the terrible jail food. The food here is simply disgusting and lacks the nutritional value and portion size appropriate for a grown man. Add this to the black mold circulating through the vents and the putrid brown water we are forced to drink, then you will start to understand why we all look so sickly.
Along with the solitary confinement for this last year I have also lived under the constant threat of violence from the same correctional officers tasked with watching us. We Jan 6ers are in our own pod locked in cells by ourselves. There has been multiple times when a group of racist and hateful officers will open someone’s cell door in the middle of the night and beat them. We are all very aware and alert when doors open at night. To live on this kind of high alert for an entire year is exhausting and harmful to ones mental health. Being surrounded by the unbridled hatred of DC correctional officers every day causes a sense of hopelessness to set in. Whenever certain officers begin to like us they are removed from working our pod and we never see them again. We are the most respectful and well-behaved inmates this jail has ever had. We have been told this a lot. Yet the reasons for officers to target one of us in the middle of the night range from us singing God Bless America too loud, to one of us getting in an argument with one of the officers for refusing to give him toilet paper. I have personally been threatened and called racial slurs multiple times by officers, and even been refused meals.
We live under the clear and present danger of correctional officers who listen to lies from CNN and the Democrat politicians. Our food has been spiked with cleaning chemicals on several occasions as retaliation when this jail gets in trouble because of us. Like when this jail failed the surprise inspection from the US Marshals and lost their federal contract. Or when a court finally held this jail in criminal contempt for refusing one of us, who has cancer, medical treatment. There have even been a couple of Jan 6ers sexually assaulted by officers in this jail. The jail administration does not care about our safety or well being. Deputy Warden Kathleen Landerkin has made this clear with over 40 of her personal social media posts. She says things publicly like, “F*** all Trump supporters.” and she clearly hates white men.
This brings me to my last point. We are diverse. We are white, black, brown, Arab, Christian, Jewish, straight, and even transgender. This Patriot Pod in the DC jail looks like America. Even though we are enduring serious violations of our Constitutional rights and violations of our dignity, we still sing the Star Spangled Banner every night at 9pm. We love this country. There was no insurrection on January 6. We are good men I promise.
I hope everyone out there are living your lives happily and lovingly. I pray that all of you are doing your part to make the world a better place. Love your neighbors and protect your family. Focus on being the best version of yourself. Don’t let the truth of the torturous conditions that I am enduring get you down. I am strong and will never give up on loving this country. Please pray for us, pray for our country, and never give up.
Please help my legal fund. They have locked me in a tiny cage. I cannot work or make money being locked up behind bars or else I would do anything I could. They have tied my hands. I need a trial lawyer and they are so expensive.
Fellow Americans- I have no where else to turn.
Strength and Honor,
Jonathan Gennaro Mellis , Prisoner #376907
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