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Jacksons may chafe at ascetic prison life facing them


Jon Burge

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Updated: September 17, 2013 7:53AM

If Jesse Jackson Jr. gets his wish, he could end up in the same prison complex as Chicago Police torturer Jon Burge and Ponzi-scheme king Bernie Madoff.

The disgraced former congressman asked to serve his 2 1/2-year sentence at either the federal prison camp in Montgomery, Ala., or the federal correctional institution in Butner, N.C. — where Burge and Madoff are locked up in separate facilites on the complex. Madoff is in one of the medium-security facilities, Burge in a low-security one.

While Judge Amy Berman Jackson (no relation) agreed Wednesday to recommend those facilities, it’s up to the Bureau of Prisons to decide where Jackson goes.

Jackson’s first choice, the minimum security camp on Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, is the federal camp closest to Washington, D.C., and would “allow Mr. Jackson to maintain contact with his wife and children during incarceration,” his lawyers wrote in a recent filing.

The low-security prison at Butner is closer still and is near North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, where Jackson attended college.

Inmates at both prisons are expected to work — maintaining the base at Montgomery, and starting out as a food service worker at Butner, with the possibility of earning a factory job.

Inmates at Marianna, the Florida panhandle federal prison camp where Sandi Jackson hopes to be placed, usually work in the prison’s computer recycling business.

Dress and spending rules at all three prisons may chafe on the spendthrift couple. Khaki prison scrubs are mandatory, while watches worth more than $75 are banned, and inmates can’t typically spend more than $320 a month.

“Incarceration can be a difficult experience,” the guidebook provided to inmates at Marianna warns. “At times you may feel discouraged, frustrated and helpless.”


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