Enrique Tarrio is a leader of the Proud Boys and recently received a jail term for shenanigans typical of the violent far-right street gang. Yesterday he begged a judge to reduce that term to 90 days, citing the appalling, dangerous conditions of his imprisonment.
He detailed abusive guards, constantly flooded cells, smoke-filled hallways and medical neglect, saying he witnessed a prisoner have a seizure who lay there for a half hour before any help arrived. Tarrio's complaints about jail conditions in Washington mirror those of several prisoners charged in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Conditions at the D.C. central jail have long been a point of criticism for local activists. The issue has take on a national political dimension in recent months because of the Jan. 6 defendants.
The defense is, literally, that he isn't being singled out.
Obviously I don't want special treatment for Tarrio, or for any of the MAGA rioters learning how terrible U.S. jails and prisons are. But no-one should be held in the conditions that prisoners in the U.S are subject to—in his case surrounded by excrement in his cell and constantly afraid of violence facilitated by indifferent authorities. The temptation is to find the unexpected prison travails of these baby brownshirts and enyachted Trumpkins ironic, but it's also an opportunity for the strategic giving of a shit, to help push reform that also benefits those who were there before and will remain after.