A few minutes ago, I saw a tweet from Tony Schwartz, the deeply articulate, abjectly repentant writer of Trump’s The Art of the Deal.
Tony (I don’t know him but I feel I do) wrote, “Trump ought to be indicted and tried as a traitor. Treason is the crime of betraying one’s country. It is punishable by death.”
I agreed with the first two sentences, but cringed at the last one. I am fervently against the death penalty and I must feel this way about anyone, if I could shudder at considering Trump’s eligibility.
I replied to Schwartz I’d prefer Trump be sent to Florence and kept incommunicado (because I really don’t want to see him or hear from him again). Because “Florence” popped into my fingers, I recalled why I know that much about the federal prison system.
Florence is the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ supermax facility, where the worst convicted offenders are sent. Terrorists, multiple murderers, spies, drug czars — men like that.
Back in the 1990s, I worked in a small law firm that came to specialize in civil rights law — which meant that quite a number of our clients were victims of police violence. And convicted cops or those who plead guilty often went to federal prison.
John Lewis, one of the lawyers I worked for, also maintained a practice in criminal defense law, and had represented a client who went to Florence. Among the various books John had in his office was one odd multi-page pamphlet produced by the Bureau of Prisons which fully detailed every federal facility in the country. Really detailed. If your client, say, was about to enter the prison system, you (the lawyer) could look up the prison he was going to and get full information about the place. The address, the officials who ran it, how to contact them, how to contact your client, the prison’s designation (maximum, mixed, minimum security).
Couple of things that were sort of daffy about the pamphlet. First, it was produced on heavy, glossy paper. Like a travel brochure. Second, each page for each prison also listed the, uh, recreational facilities available. Like a gym, or tennis courts, library, educational programs, like that.
But the really entertaining part of the listing was, at the top of each glossy page, a panoramic photograph (yes, in B&W but still) of the whole prison in its often remote and beautiful setting, and some of those prisons looked like, I dunno, hotels? Condos? In the mountains, maybe with ski slopes?
Ergo, the pamphlet was known among lawyers as Club Fed.
I found this to be very funny. But the Federal Bureau of Prisons did not. I called them once to track down the whereabouts of an imprisoned cop. I gave them the prisoner’s name and number, but probably said I didn’t need the address and other contact info because we had a copy of Club Fed.
The woman’s voice turned to ice. “We. Don’t. Call. It. That,” she said. I shivered, and apologized.