The Atlantic

Can’t We at Least Give Prisoners Soap?

As coronavirus fears spread among incarcerated people and those advocating on their behalf, I’ve heard again and again about soap.
Source: Giles Clarke / Getty

Thaddeus Betz is one of many attorneys who fear that the coronavirus is going to kill one of their clients as it spreads in densely populated jails and correctional institutions. Last week, Betz filed a motion on behalf of Benjamin John Finnestad, a registered sex offender cancer survivor in his mid-40s who is awaiting trial after being accused of trying to lure underage girls online. Would a federal judge release Finnestad into house arrest with an ankle bracelet during this pandemic?

I read the motion over the weekend in an ongoing effort to understand what arguments are being made on behalf of incarcerated Americans during this extraordinary public-health emergency, and to comprehend the sorts of factors that judges and

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