I got a letter from my brother today. He’s in prison, but moments like this in his letter let me know he’s doing OK: “[W]e caught two more toads and we kept them all in one of those large pretzel jars with some moist gravel in the bottom. Then outside at work we built a terrarium out of lexan and filled it with gravel, a plant, and a water dish. Some afternoons out at work at the powerhouse we scour the neighboring lawns and gardens and catch crickets and grasshoppers for food.” Like most large prison complexes, Jessup has its own machine shop and power plant and vegetable gardens inside the razor wire, and its own native fauna, including geese and cats in addition to the toads my brother describes. And I’m glad he and the guys on his tier have pets; that they have other living things to care for, to create an environment for and to feed. Tink and Zeugma do a lot for my mental health; I know toads aren’t quite as cuddly, but I’m psyched they’re giving him a sense of satisfaction and responsibility, however small, as an antidote to the relentless infantilization that the prison system exercises on inmates.