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April 30, 2020
Six Feet Apart with Alex Wagner
Justice

In This Episode

What happens to an already strained system in the middle of a pandemic? This week’s episode looks at America’s criminal justice system as prosecutors and inmates alike manage unprecedented challenges. First, Alex speaks to San Francisco’s new District Attorney, Chesa Boudin. With a father who has been incarcerated nearly since his birth—and remains in prison today—Boudin was elected into office as a progressive reformer seeking to end the era of mass incarceration. Then, we talk to MaryBeth, an inmate in federal prison cleared for early release, but still grappling with a dangerous reality inside federal detention as she waits to go home.

 

 

Transcript

 

Alex Wagner: Hi and welcome to Six Feet Apart. I’m Alex Wagner. The pandemic has upended life as we know it. And yet some systems: health care, transportation, the food supply chain—they found a way to go on because quite simply, they didn’t have a choice. The criminal justice system is one of those essential institutions that has been forced to grapple with the outbreak of COVID-19 and chart a course around it or, more specifically, through it. And our criminal justice system in particular is faced with the greatest challenge of them all. That’s because America locks more people up than any other country in the world, by a lot. With all of our trials and prosecutions and sentences, with our abundance of crowded prisons and tightly packed cells, how do you protect, isolate, quarantine and otherwise slow the heavy rolling machinery of the American justice system? That’s what we’re going to talk about today: justice. What happens when criminal and civil trials are basically put on ice? How do you protect law enforcement and also keep the public safe from six feet away? And how do you stay healthy and alive in prison? First, we’re going to speak with the new district attorney of San Francisco, Chesa Boudin. Chesa, a former public defender whose father has been in jail for close to Chesa’s entire life, was elected on a progressive platform and sworn into office five months ago. Ending the era of mass incarceration helped get him elected, but no one had any idea that a major release of prisoners would come as the result of a pandemic. And then we’ll speak to MaryBeth Hill, an inmate at a federal prison in Greenville, Illinois. MaryBeth was sentenced to 36 months in prison for the sale of narcotics. Because she’s a nonviolent offender, she was cleared earlier this month for release with the goal of having her serve out the rest of her sentence from home with monitoring. But as of now, MaryBeth is still incarcerated and COVID-19 is still infecting people. But first, here’s Chesa Boudin.

 

Alex Wagner: So Chesa, one of the things I’m really interested in knowing from people who are working in government and in your case, criminal justice particularly, is how the magnitude of this pandemic first started dawning on you. At what point did you realize, OK, we’re going to have a serious problem in the prison system, we’re going to need to make serious moves to assist that population? I mean, your father is incarcerated so I would imagine that moment maybe came before, or did it come after, or simultaneous?

 

Chesa Boudin: No, it was simultaneous. I mean Alex, one of the things that I bring with me to the job of district attorney every day is an intimate and lifelong connection to our country’s system of jails and prisons because I’ve been visiting my parents in prison my whole life. My earliest memories are going through steel gates and metal detectors just to be able to give them a hug. My father’s now been in prison for more than 38 years, so it’s been part of my life every single day that I can remember. And whenever there’s a major issue, whether it be, obviously COVID-19 is unprecedented in our lifetime, but, you know, any major public health issue, one of the things I always think about is people who are vulnerable, whether they’re incarcerated, whether they’re unhoused, obviously victims of crime. And, you know, my father is now 75 years old. He’s got underlying medical conditions and when he was first transferred to the prison he’s currently housed in, they didn’t have a single doctor on staff. And so the kinds of things that we’ve all been trying to implement in our own life and in our own space and daily routines: social distancing, hand sanitizer, good hygiene, access to doctors when we have any symptoms—those are impossible for my father and for virtually all of the other 2.3 million people in this country who are behind bars on any given day.

 

Alex Wagner: There has been a wave of district attorneys across the country, not just in blue states, but in states like North Carolina and Pennsylvania and Utah, who have recommended getting, shrinking jail populations, shrinking prison populations because of the threat that COVID-19 poses. How have you looked at this moment in terms of our prison population, and how permanent do you think the reduction in these numbers could be?

 

Chesa Boudin: When I took office in January of this year, mid-January, January 21st, the jail population was 1,238 people. This morning it was 701. So about a 50, roughly 55% drop.

 

Alex Wagner: How much, how much of that drop was in the last month, do you know?

 

Chesa Boudin: Yeah, virtually all of it. So if you go back to March 4th, it was still a 1,097. So, in the last month and a half we’ve cut the jail population from about 1,100 to about 700, so roughly 40% in that time period. And we’ve done it because I decided early on to do what I wish President Trump would have done from the beginning, which is to let public health officials guide public policy as we navigate this public health crisis. The jail medical director made very clear that we had to cut the jail population drastically so that she and her team could create social distancing in jail, so that people who were pregnant and people who had other underlying medical conditions weren’t exposed to COVID while incarcerated. And, you know, the thing about jail and prison is, and this is really important for folks to understand, it is not just about the people who are incarcerated, it is not just about the people who have committed a crime or been accused of a crime. It is about all of the people who go to work in jails and prisons every single day. And in the United States, you know, we have about half a million people who work as correctional officers and we have many hundreds of thousands of more people who work as jail and prison medical staff and service providers. And those folks go home every day at the end of their shift. If you look at New York State, for example, where my father is incarcerated, there are actually far more correctional officers and staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 than there are inmates. They are bringing the disease into the jail and then they’re bringing it back home to their families. It’s a very dangerous situation for everybody who is in any way connected to a jail or prison, and in the United States, that’s most of us.

 

Alex Wagner: What is happening right now in terms of arrests and prosecutions? What goes on as far as crime?

 

Chesa Boudin: So crime rates are definitely down in San Francisco and in most parts of the country. People are staying inside and there’s less opportunities for people to commit crime, especially property crime and yet other areas, things like child abuse and domestic violence we’re very concerned about because people are stuck at home with abusers. It’s very hard for them to get help. We haven’t seen a surge in reports, but we know from the amazing work that the victim services division in my office does that there are more needs for service and support for folks who we already have relationships with, who have a history of being abused.

 

Alex Wagner: Yeah, I would wonder if domestic abuse, whether the quiet lines on reporting domestic abuse are actually not a cause for concern, right? Like the question is whether victims of domestic abuse can actually report that domestic abuse, if they’re in quarantine or in lockdown with abusive spouses or partners.

 

Chesa Boudin: Exactly. And so San Francisco has been really proactive about that. We’ve done a number of things. For example, allowed folks to report domestic abuse and other crime to 911 via text message, so that if people are in a home where it’s not safe for them to get on a call and provide details out loud because someone who’s abusing them might hear, they can do it via text message. We’ve also partnered with Lyft in a bunch of community-based organizations that provide services to domestic violence victims to provide free Lyft rides to people who need to get out of an abusive situation and get to shelter and safety.

 

Alex Wagner: How does that work, though? I mean, from arrests to home visits to, you know, police coming to the scene of a potential crime? I mean, what are the guidelines for arrests and instances where police officers or law enforcement may be coming into contact with someone?

 

Chesa Boudin: You know, the Chief of Police and I talk almost every day. We have, you know, very close communication and we’re working hard to find the right balance between making sure everybody is safe, making sure that we’re still enforcing the laws, but also doing it from a public health standpoint. And we need to keep our frontline workers, our firefighters, our police officers, our sheriff’s deputies, our paramedics healthy. We need our frontline workers to be safe. But if someone’s in an emergency, if someone’s being abused, our police officers stepping up, they’re going, they’re doing investigations, they’re making arrests. And we’re still filing new criminal cases every single day.

 

Alex Wagner: And I’m assuming they’re doing those investigations, they’re making those reports, they’re filing those reports using protective equipment. Is that right?

 

Chesa Boudin: That’s right. We are prioritizing getting protective equipment and testing to our first responders. And we’ve done a great job in San Francisco of keeping our first responders safe. Of course, we’ve had some who’ve tested positive, but given the number of people that they interact with, that they come face to face with—the fact that they’re making arrests and putting handcuffs on people—every single contact is exposing folks to risk. And we’ve done a really good job staying ahead of the curve in San Francisco, both for law enforcement and really across the board.

 

Alex Wagner: What about the next stage of that process, which is trials? I mean, everything is basically on hold right now in the state of California, right? Civil and criminal trials are being held until, what date is it?

 

Chesa Boudin: Well, it’s kind of rolling. We’re not technically prohibited from doing trials. We could do trials right now. But the Judicial Council and the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court have issued emergency orders that dramatically extend the procedural timelines for doing preliminary hearings and trials. So I don’t know of any county in the state that’s done a criminal trial in the last month. And in San Francisco, we have not done even a preliminary hearing in the last month, but we’re hoping to be able to start doing that next week. And we’re going to be using Zoom technology. We’re going to have, to the extent possible, police officers testifying from their police departments and their stations. And we’re going to have my lawyers presenting evidence and exhibits from our office, and hopefully it will just be the judge and the courtroom clerk in the courtroom. So we’ll maintain social distancing and also allow the wheels of justice to turn.

 

Alex Wagner: What does the slow-down of trials mean practically for the system, though? Is that, does that mean there’s just going to be an insane backlog when, you know, you get things up and rolling, even if it’s socially distant trials?

 

Chesa Boudin: It does, Alex. And it’s something that we’re all concerned about in the you know, in the justice system, the public defender, the court, the district attorneys, you know, all of us are concerned about that backlog. And it has really serious implications for our ability to move cases forward in a way that, you know, respects the rights of defendants and those accused as well as the rights of crime victims. So what we’re trying to do is as much court business as possible right now. And we’re also trying to find ways to settle cases. Not every case goes to trial. In San Francisco, as in most of the country, about 98% of criminal cases settle before trial. And so we’re trying to continue that process of negotiating and resolving cases even without the ability to put evidence in front of a jury.

 

Alex Wagner: I want to get into the ethics of that, right, like settlement’s, plea bargains in an age of coronavirus. I mean, I would imagine, look, the prospect of going to jail, going to prison for anybody is daunting, right? It’s a scary prospect. Nobody really wants to do that. But when you, when you know there is a raging pandemic that is worse in prison than it is in most other spaces in American life, that must make the negotiation process even more asymmetrical, doesn’t it? I mean, the threat of that just seems so profound.

 

Chesa Boudin: There are always asymmetries in the criminal justice system. You know, there’s a phenomenon that we refer to as overcharging where prosecutors will take a case that should be, say, a shoplift, or a shoplift with a battery on a store employee, and they’ll charge it as a robbery. There’s a huge difference in terms of the consequences for that different charge, right? A shoplifting is a misdemeanor, you’re looking at six months in county jail. A simple battery is a misdemeanor, you’re looking at six months in county jail. A robbery is a strike, five years in prison. So you’re absolutely right that COVID-19 changes and exacerbates in some ways the stakes for people. And if you’re offering someone credit for time served and they’re in jail, there’s a tremendous incentive for people to plead guilty just so they can get out of jail, right? That’s always true, but it’s much more true today. And that’s something that, you know, we’re aware of and we’re trying to grapple with it by finding ways to safely release people who can safely be released.

 

Alex Wagner: I kind of wonder how it changes, though, from the prosecutor’s standpoint, right? I mean, the prospect of someone, sending someone to a place where they could contract a deadly virus has got to make prosecutors think very seriously about how hard they want to prosecute, how aggressively they want to prosecute someone, right? I don’t know. Tell me what you think.

 

Chesa Boudin: It’s no, it’s a serious concern. And look, Alex, as a district attorney, we balance very, very difficult, uncertain cases every single day, right. Do we let someone out of jail? If so, with what conditions? Do we seek a prison sentence or probation sentence? If probation, what kinds of terms should be attached> if prison, for how long? And the thing that keeps us awake at night is the fear that we’ll let someone out of jail who will then go and commit a heinous crime. And we know that it’s in some cases a real fear. It has happened. It will happen again. And those cases are the ones that will be on the front pages. Those cases are the ones that will all too often define criminal justice policy, even though they’re the outliers. We do not want short-term periods of incarceration to turn into a death sentence. And that is a reality that we have to face with COVID-19. If there’s a silver lining in all this, it would be that we dramatically expand resources for people reentering, and focus resources on supporting victims of crime instead of just building new jails and prisons. But I really think, you know, we have to make the road by walking—as I’ll borrow the name of one of my favorite organizations in New York—we have to make the road by walking. It is not a foregone conclusion.

 

Alex Wagner: So I want to talk about how you personally have been managing this because your father, David Gilbert, is serving a prison sentence of 75 years to life. Is that right?

 

Chesa Boudin: That’s right.

 

Alex Wagner: And obviously, I’m sure he’s on your mind all the time, even more so in this moment. What’s your communication with him been like in this moment? I mean, how is he feeling and how are you feeling about him being behind bars, which is obviously not a place you want him to be in any situation, but I’m sure especially in the middle of a pandemic.

 

Chesa Boudin: Nobody wants their 75-year old father to be in a prison cell, but it’s much more stressful, it’s much scarier in the context of this epidemic. Many people in his prison have tested positive. People on his cell block have been evacuated with symptoms. People in the New York prison system have died of COVID, and people who are younger and healthier than him have died. We have a really close relationship. We talk on the phone usually once a week. We exchange letters. I visit him frequently in prison, but of course, visits are canceled and now for him to get to a phone is really taking his life in his own hands. He has to use a phone that’s shared with hundreds of other incarcerated people. He has to, you know, make do without access to hygiene products. He’s not allowed to have hand sanitizer, for example.

 

Alex Wagner: Why is he not allowed to have hand sanitizer? Because of the alcohol content.

 

Chesa Boudin: Exactly. Most jails and prisons prohibit any alcohol or any product containing alcohol. So no access to hand sanitizer and also no access, no easy access to showers. They’re shared showers. He can’t just take a shower whenever he wants. The toilets that he and all the other people on his cell block use are right up against the the bars on their cells. So when people flush the toilet, there’s no covers on the toilets. It’s literally spraying, you know, into the air. And everybody has to breathe that air. Everybody has to share the same confined space. It’s exactly the opposite of what public health officials are telling us we need to be doing right now. And so I do worry about my father. I do worry about the risk he takes every time he goes to make a phone call. And yet I crave those phone calls because I want to know that he’s OK. I want to hear his voice. I want to hear that he’s still healthy. When he calls me now, it’s often really hard for him to hear me and it’s sometimes hard for me to hear him because he’s wrapping the phone in several layers of clothing before he makes phone calls, and then he hand washes the clothing in his cell after each phone call.

 

Alex Wagner: How do you set about each day, I mean, what are you thinking through all of this? How is your thinking about, you know, the role that you play and the work ahead of you? How has that been molded by a global pandemic?

 

Chesa Boudin: It’s certainly not what I expected or could have imagined when I ran for office, when I took office. You know, I had a lot of work cut out for me. We are capable in San Francisco and in my office, we are capable of rising to the challenge and we’re capable of doing it in a way that actually leaves us stronger on the back end. And that, I really believe there will be silver linings and I really believe that we’re going to be a lot stronger and a lot healthier in the long run because of some of the lessons we’re learning, because of some of the ways in which we’re finding efficiencies and creativity and common cause against a threat to all of us.

 

Alex Wagner: Well, you have a lot of work, Chesa Boudin.

 

Chesa Boudin: Thanks for reminding me, Alex Wagner.

 

Alex Wagner: You know, we wish you luck. We hope you continue to make sound decisions and, you know, what is it? You will find the path by walking it, I guess Chesa.

 

Chesa Boudin: Make the path by walking it. Make the path.

 

Alex Wagner: You’ll make it by walking it.

 

Chesa Boudin: That’s right.

 

Alex Wagner: Thanks for your time.

 

Chesa Boudin: Thank you, Alex.

 

[ad break]

 

Alex Wagner: And now we’ll hear directly from an inmate in our prison system, MaryBeth Hill.

 

Alex Wagner: Hi MaryBeth. I know our time with you is limited, so we’ll get right to it. What were they communicating to you inside prison when COVID-19 first broke out?

 

MaryBeth Hill: So fortunately, I am in the program barracks. So we, we go to groups every day, and so that’s really when we started getting concerned, is whenever they started minimizing our group. They had to distance our chairs inside the group room. And so that is whenever we started to kind of panic, but a lot wasn’t being said at this point as far as, you know, what was happening and what was going to go on.

 

Alex Wagner: So they weren’t saying anything to you, but they were making you guys sort of stay more spaced apart and that was your indication that something dangerous could be happening, right?

 

MaryBeth Hill: They haven’t tested any of us for it. So we really don’t even know, there have been a lot of people who were sick when it first happened but like I said, they never tested anybody for it. So we don’t even know, you know?

 

Alex Wagner: Wait so, they haven’t tested anybody inside your prison?

 

MaryBeth Hill: No, nobody. They came by to do a temperature swipe. That’s all they’ve done. They’ve asked people if they were symptomatic and they’ve done temperature swipes, and they did that one time. And that was whenever the pandemic first started to become, you know, like probably like in late February, and maybe March.

 

Alex Wagner: Wait, so they just did temperature checks once?

 

MaryBeth Hill: One time. That’s it.

 

Alex Wagner: Have people been showing signs of illness?

 

MaryBeth Hill: So like when the virus first started becoming really prevalent before they stopped, they had stopped our visitation from the outside. So whenever the virus first started, like really impacting the justice system, like there were a lot of people who were sick, and they never tested anybody for it. We’ve even had a girl since we’ve been locked down who was running a fever. They took her to medical and they set her back with a face mask—this is before they ever issued us any face masks—they never quarantined her, never isolated her. They sent her back to the alley, back to the unit with us.

 

Alex Wagner: Wow. So they’re not testing anybody? When people are sick or when they’ve been sick, they just give them a face mask and send them back to you guys?.

 

MaryBeth Hill: Yes.

 

[recording] This call it from a federal prison.

 

Alex Wagner: What’s happening inside as far as keeping things clean or sanitized—are they stepping up efforts to try and disinfect surfaces?

 

MaryBeth Hill: If you know anything about a prison system, it’s inmate ran, it’s inmate-let. You know, we do everything here as far as our own maintenance, we do our own yard work, we do our own cleaning. Everything here is inmate, is inmate-led. So I’m very fortunate to be in a facility with some very clean women. We spend every day sanitizing, overly sanitizing. But that’s OK, you know, like if that’s what it takes, you know, to overly sanitize everything, then that’s fine. But as far as anything, as far as that goes, it’s all because of the inmates that are here.

 

Alex Wagner: What are you using to clean?

 

MaryBeth Hill: So they give us this pink cleaner, it just, it’s like a pink—they don’t give us bleach, or course, you know, that’s like a, I guess they think that we’re going to hurt somebody with it or something, I don’t know—but they don’t give a bleach. So we use this a pink disinfectant cleaner.

 

Alex Wagner: What about protective gear? We’re now in a situation where everybody outside is being ordered to wear face masks. What kind of gear do they have for you guys?

 

MaryBeth Hill: So the first two weeks we went, we went on lockdown on April the 1st. For the first two weeks, we were not given facemask. But being that we are women and we are very ingenu-itive, we made our own face masks. A lot of people crocheting stuff here. You know, we can be very resourceful as far as like cutting the elastic in our bras and underwear and then creating face masks for ourselves. It was until the second week that we were on lockdown when they gave us one disposable face mask for the whole week.

 

Alex Wagner: For each person!?

 

MaryBeth Hill: For each person, one disposable face masks for the whole week. If it broke, that’s on you. Now, the very next week, they gave us another disposable face mask, and then after that, we finally received cloth face masks after the third week of lockdown.

 

Alex Wagner: Wow. And what about gloves or goggles or anything of that sort?

 

MaryBeth Hill: No, nothing of the sort. I mean, we do have gloves for the cleaning orderlies, people that clean inside the facility, but as far as anything else, no, they don’t give us anything else.

 

Alex Wagner: So you’re using your bra straps to create face masks. You’re using cleaner that doesn’t have alcohol in it to try and keep everything as hygienic as possible. Can you even be six feet away from each other? I mean, what about the social distance part of it? Is that happening at all?

 

MaryBeth Hill: One thing that they’ve been able to do for us is, we have two housing units here, so they’ve separated the two housing units where we don’t have any contact with the other housing unit. But as far as maintaining the social distancing, there’s no way possible. We live in two-man cubicles and we sleep less than three feet apart from each other, not including just to walk to the bathroom, to walk to the common area, you can’t keep any kind of social distancing with that. They just advise us to wear, we do have to wear our face masks at all times. But still, as far as like the physical contact, there’s no way to escape each other.

 

Alex Wagner: So, MaryBeth, what’s it like? Are people terrified? What’s it like inside the prison?

 

MaryBeth Hill: You know, it’s a very stressful and trying time right now. You know, we, but then we got word that we were possibly going to be considered for home confinement, some people were. You know, they calling people and telling them, you know, you’re being considered for home confinement, we’ve been on this quarantine and lockdown, we’re going to process this paperwork and we’re going to get you guys out of here because of social distancing reasoning. OK, then just to have people come right back and tell us, the BOP has changed their guidelines and now you no longer qualify. So it’s just a very, very stressful time period. Not only are we not programing, because this is the programing barracks, we’re not receiving any kind of programing. We’re not being told, you know, we try to ask as many questions as we can, you know, staff says whole dance around, we don’t really have an answer for that kind of question, you know, answer for it. And then now, we’re very fearful because we don’t have any known cases in this prison where we are in Illinois, and Illinois is number six on the hot spots, you know? So it’s just, it’s like every day it’s like a not a matter of if it’s going to get in here, but when, and then when, what are we going to do?

 

Alex Wagner: You talk about the BOP, that’s the Bureau of Prisons, and a lot of people across the country have said that the guidelines that the Justice Department and the Bureau of Prisons have issued as far as early release are really confusing. And some inmates who have been released have had to go back inside. You, however, have been approved for release, is that right?

 

MaryBeth Hill: Right. I was initially, yes.

 

Alex Wagner: OK, so tell me a little bit about that. How did you apply and what’s going on now with your release?

 

MaryBeth Hill: There was no apply for it, you know? So they came over, our unit team, the people who do our paperwork as far as our reentry paperwork, had came over the speaker and called a series of names. I was one of 25 that was called. When we came into the room, the guy who was the Director of Reentry had let us know that we were considered and the BOP had got directive from Washington, D.C. that these people were considered for home confinement. And they told us the steps that we needed to take to do that. So we submitted our reentry plan. That was on April the 17th. There was a whole group of people who got called in on April the 3rd who still haven’t even received the date yet. You know, so it’s just very confusing and very, it’s very, alarming to me, because, you know, if we’re in the middle of a pandemic, you know, the whole point is to be processing these people out so we can maintain the social distancing. But there is nobody who is left yet as of today, from—

 

Alex Wagner: Wow. Do you think you’re going to get out of prison early? Do you think they’re going to get you out next month?

 

MaryBeth Hill: I’m being really honest—

 

[recording] This call from a federal prison.

 

MaryBeth Hill: I’m very skeptical. The women here are very skeptical, you know? But I can honestly say that I am surrounded by a bunch of God-fearing strong women. We keep our faith high. We pray every day. You know, we have no access to religious services and so we really have come together as a unit and bonded. And we make sure that we, we take our time that every day and we just, we pray, and you know that’s all we can do. You know?

 

Alex Wagner: Yeah, can you tell me a little bit about how you guys have banded together in all of this?

 

MaryBeth Hill: I mean, I’m, I’m not going to lie to you, you know, we’re like a big group of sisters. You know, his sisters do fight, you know what I mean? And so, like we do, we have our struggles, but we bounce right back. And we realize with the greater purposes here, you know, like I try to tell everybody that I talk to, that people need to understand as far as the women in here and the men as well, you know, we’re human, you know? We made some mistakes and we’ve got caught. But that doesn’t mean that we’re any less deserving, you know, of the fight to want to live. And I can say this, that we have honestly bonded together. We help each other out. We’re there for each other emotionally and we just try to, you know, utilize each other to make it through this.

 

Alex Wagner: Yeah, that’s really powerful, the idea that you’re human beings and you shouldn’t be denied the fight to live. Do you worry about what happens if you leave and those other women are left inside? I mean, how do you think that’s going to make you feel, given the stakes, you know, the threats facing them inside prison?

 

MaryBeth Hill: No, that’s why I do these interviews and what I do, I don’t do it just for myself, you know, it’s for the greater good of everybody that’s here. Most of us are mothers. A lot of them are grandmothers. And, you know, I just, I know that I am deserving and these people are deserving as well at a chance to go home. But not only just to go home alive, but to go home healthy and not have to worry about, you know, bringing something to our family eventually whenever we do get out, you know? That’s another concern is just trying to keep ourselves safe as well as our families whenever we come home.

 

Alex Wagner: And is that the idea, if you go home, you’re going to go home to your family?

 

MaryBeth Hill: Yes, I have three children who are waiting for me, and I don’t mean to get emotional—it’s about to hang up—but, you know, those three kids are my life and I just want to make it home to them.

 

Alex Wagner: Well, MaryBeth, we wish you health and safety in this time of crisis. Thank you so much for agreeing to talk with us and, you know, stay strong. And we’re all thinking about what you guys are going through in prison. Thanks for your time.

 

MaryBeth Hill: Thank you.

 

Alex Wagner: That’s all for this episode of Six Feet Apart. Our show is produced by Alysa Gutierrez and Lyra Smith. Lyra Smith is our story editor. Our executive producer is Sarah Geismer. Special thanks to Alison Falzetta, Stephen Hoffman and Sidney Rapp. Thanks for listening and stay safe.