Saturday Night Social: If Only Trump Would Commute Everyone Else's Sentence, Too

Illustration for article titled Saturday Night Social: If Only Trump Would Commute Everyone Else's Sentence, Too
Photo: Chip Somodevilla (Getty Images)

As badly as the novel coronavirus has ravaged the United States, the situation inside American prisons is many times more dire.

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The rates of death and infection have been five times worse in our state and federal prison systems than among the greater population outside, according to a new study published earlier this week. I would hope that this might prompt us to push for what advocates for the incarcerated and detained have been fighting for since the start of the covid-19 pandemic: the release of individuals trapped in these hotbeds for contagion.

Many states have wisely turned to decarceration in order to reduce the number of covid-related deaths in prisons—which, per a report released by the American Civil Liberties Union in June, has killed more than 570 incarcerated people and over 50 correctional officers. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear commuted the sentences of nearly 1,000 people in prison in April, about a week after California Gov. Gavin Newsom granted early release to 3,500 individuals at risk for infection. California has now decided to decarcerate even more people in its prisons, per The Guardian, with officials announcing the release of up to 8,000 individuals on Friday.

Friday also happened to be the day that Donald Trump commuted the federal prison sentence of longtime friend and collaborator Roger Stone, The New York Times reports. Stone is only the eleventh person to receive a commutation from the President, whose predecessor Barack Obama, commuted 1,715 sentences over the course of his eight years in office. Most of Trump’s commutations have gone to “cases that resonate with him personally [or to people who] have a direct line to him through friends or family,” the Times notes, highlighting one of the many ways in which wealth and power, or at least a proximity to it, can save one from experiencing the horrors of the U.S. prison system, which for now include an increased risk of covid infection.

There are lives at stake inside prisons, just as ours are at stake on the outside, and the only hope we have of saving them—short of full-scale abolition—is to get incarcerated people out of there.

Freelance journalist (GQ, W, Esquire, elsewhere), here on weekends

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Krispy Porkchops

Shelter Catstravaganza!

Adoptions!

Enjoy one last view of the magnificent Willow, because he and his bond-mate Lulu went to their forever home!

Greybe’s pose-striking captured someone’s heart, because he got adopted, too!

Doyle was also adopted, but I’m a bit sad about this one, because his extroverted purrsonality was good for Tiger and Griffin. And boy, does he know how to nuzzle!

Cowboy is a free roamer now. He and Donegal are still feeling each other out.

Logan, trying to look menacing and not quite succeeding.

Mister is a happy boy.

And he and Logan have a new roommate: Beth the torti. She’s got tortitude, and is keeping the boys off balance.

Kipper and Shane, forever besties.

BenBen, looking fine.

Fish and Chips are just the sweetest pair. They both look so scared when you first enter the room, but they warm up quickly and are all over you before you know it.

Momma and Kalli have opinions, and are not hesitant in sharing them, along with rubs and kisses.

So I went to visit Pearl, who is still all alone in her own room with her choice of *eight* beds. So where do I find her today? Hiding behind the plastic bin, the silly. So I sat on the floor and talked to her for a bit. Suddenly, she darts out, vaults over my legs, and skids to a stop by the door. Then she turns around and comes back for attention, which is freely given.

Meet Maverick, who used to be Maeve before someone noticed his....equipment. I was first introduced to him early in my shift a couple weeks ago when the medicator said, “What are you doing there?”. And there he was, in the transition room, sitting *on top* of the cages. The door to his cage was open and he was crying, poor thing! But now he has his own room and I loooove to visit him, he is so sweet and loves hugs.

He also is the most prolific drooler I have ever seen. Observe:

Which brings us to Art. Art the shy kitty who always hid from me. No more.

He’s been like this all week. He was purring and circling me, but when he caught site of the medicator (a very nice lady), he immediately tensed and growled. It was so funny! So she handed me the popsicle stick with the gabapentin capsule slathered in cheese, and I held it out to him. He promptly ate it up. And growled when I handed the stick back to the medicator. Look at this handsome man!

Finally, the Wynn Update. Today, he was off of his shelf the entire time! He chats, rubs, walks around, is alert. And we have a game called Find the Treat, wherein I toss a treat onto the bench and he finds and eats it. I am so happy for this guy!

Finally, if you’re on Twitter, please follow Bruce at @TheJourneyofBr1. Once a day, I post a new Bruce pic with caption. This is today’s. Thanks!