- Tom Silva
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Bernie Madoff Pays the Price
Ponzi scheme swindler Bernie Madoff has some notorious neighbors at the federal prison in Butner, NC, that he now calls home. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the medium-security Butner facility houses 3,400 inmates, including Omar Abdel-Rahman, the terrorist known as the “Blind Sheik”, who plotted the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Also imprisoned in Butner are John Rigas, the former Adelphia Communications CEO; Jonathan Pollard, the former Naval Intelligence Analyst convicted of spying for Israel; and Russell Weston, who murdered two U.S. Capital Police officers in 1998.
Since receiving his 150-year sentence on June 29, Madoff had been held in a federal lockup in Manhattan. He pleaded guilty in March to securities fraud, money laundering and perjury charges.
“One of the most difficult things to deal with in prison is the reality that you are powerless,” according to Jonathan Richards, author of Federal Prison – A Comprehensive Survival Guide, who served time in a minimum-security prison. “Your whole life you basically eat when you want to eat, sleep when you want to sleep, wear what you want to wear. Then, suddenly, this daily freedom is taken away.”
Madoff will be able to write and receive letters, make limited phone calls for 25 cents a minute and possibly have access to monitored email messages. He wears a prison khaki wardrobe; the food is just edible; and exercise consists of pacing within an outdoor cage. Family and friends can visit once Madoff settles into prison life. Additionally, Madoff will be put to work for low wages – menial tasks such as sweeping floors.