Earlier this week, The City, a nonprofit news organization covering New York, published a map detailing the drastic decline in trash collection in certain areas in Manhattan—specifically neighborhoods with higher concentrations of wealth, including the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, and East Village. Whereas working class neighborhoods in Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island saw increases in their weekly hauls upwards of ten percent—the likely byproduct of more people sheltering in place—the tony Manhattan zip codes actually dipped in their trash output.
John Mele didn’t expect to get out of jail so soon. The 48-year-old had three months left in his sentence, serving time for theft, burglary, and driving with a suspended license, when he was released from Ocean County Jail in Toms River, New Jersey, in late March. He is among thousands of incarcerated people being released nationwide amid an accelerating push to reduce overcrowding as the novel coronavirus spreads rapidly inside prisons and jails. “When I saw the news that they were releasing prisoners, I didn’t think it would be me,” Mele said in a phone interview.