Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen’s days as a free-man are numbered. The former “fixer” for the current president, is scheduled to begin serving his 3-year prison sentence on May 6th. Cohen will be headed to FCI Otisville.
CNN (@cnn) reported, Cohen requested to be sent to the prison when he was sentenced by District Judge William Pauley. Cohen allegedly requested Otisville because of its proximity to New York City. Otisville is located in Upstate New York, and is likely one of the closest low-security federal prisons systems to the city. That’s a good thing if your family lives in New York City. It’s better than being sent clear across the country to Texas or South Carolina or something. So, that may be one legitimate reason Cohen wanted to go to Otisville. The other reason is because Otisville has become known among federal prisoners as one of the best places to do your time at. When someone in the system says “best” they usually mean least violent. The unknown is always fearful. Cohen has never been to prison in his life. But the truth of the matter is, practically every low-custody or satellite camp in the federal prison system is the “best.” Low custody prisons are not really for violent inmates. You have a lot of people who have been convicted for white collar crimes, drug crimes, non-violent gun crimes and plenty others. If your criminal record or current crime has some violence involved, you are more likely to end up in a medium custody facility or penitentiary. Don’t get me wrong, THAT IS NOT A RULE THAT IS SET IN STONE. You do have some violent offenders who are sent to low custody prisons. But most are likely serving a sentence of less than 20-years, so it’s not like they’ll be in there looking to kill anyone. They have a release date. The people with no release date are the people you need to be concerned about. You’ll likely find them in medium custody facilities or the penitentiary. Those jokers ain’t got nothing to lose. Now I’m not saying that Cohen, or any other inmate can’t get punched in the face or beat up at a low-custody facility…..but it’s prison, not a freakin’ amusement park. What did you expect? I’m just saying that the likelihood of someone trying to kill Michael Cohen is very low, even given the fact he will be labeled a “rat” the second he steps foot through the prisons doors. Low custody time would’ve probably been smooth time no matter where Cohen was sent to serve his prison sentence. But like I said earlier, the fear of the unknown is always a scary thing. But I’ve personally heard from many people that, if you had to serve some federal time, Otisville is not a bad spot to land at.
Last week Kim Kardashian took a trip to the White House to talk to Donald Trump about granting a pardon to 63-year old Alice Johnson. Ms. Johnson has been incarcerated since 1996 on non-violent drug charges. She was serving a “life” prison sentence. I’m not certain how Kim Kardashian even heard of Ms. Johnson’s story, but to her credit, when she did, she took action. Kim used her celebrity status to broker a meeting with Jared kushner, at which time she lobbied for a meeting with Donald Trump. Kim Kardashian’s celebrity status got her a meeting with the president of The United States. Once at the meeting, Kim obviously found a way to convince Donald Trump to see things her way. Today, Trump has granted Ms. Johnson a pardon from the unfair prison sentence she was serving.
Right is right, and wrong is wrong. The “why’s” are not the story here. The story here is that a woman who was serving an unfair prison sentence will finally be released after 22 years. A “life” prison sentence for non-violent drug related charges is excessive under any circumstance. These type of prison sentences happen more often than most people realize. Pardoning Ms. Johnson was the right thing to do, regardless of why Donald Trump decided to do this. Like I said before, right is right and wrong is wrong. Prison sentences like the one Ms. Johnson was serving as a non-violent drug offender is the reason so many people have been fighting so hard for prison reform. As a person who was once caught up in the system, there is no way I can possibly spin this story to make it seem like Ms. Johnson’s pardon was a bad thing……in my eyes. There is no way I can spin this story to make it seem like what Kim Kardashian did was a bad or selfish thing, even if I wanted to.
In a recent interview, Alice Johnson told Mic.com (@mic) that she got involved in drug dealing and trafficking after going through a series of tragedies, including the death of her son in a motorcycle accident, losing her job at FedEx, and going through a divorce. Ms. Johnson also admitted to having a heavy gambling addiction.
Jared Kushner and White House Chief Of Staff, John Kelly reportedly bickered about Johnson’s pardon before Trump signed it. Kelly didn’t think Johnson was deserving of a presidential pardon. The argument was over a prison sentence commutation versus a full pardon. A commutation will get you released from your prison sentence, while a pardon has the crimes you’ve been convicted of erased and removed from your record.
Ms. Johnson’s prison sentence has been commuted. She did not receive a full pardon as reported earlier.
Martin Shkreli has finally found out his punishment for conspiring to commit fraud and manipulate stock shares. Seven years behind bars. CNBC (@cnbc) reported that the once arrogant man who became known as The Pharma Bro, and carried himself as if he was “hood” and “built for this”, cried as he was sentenced, just like you knew he would.
“The one person I have to blame for me being here today is me” Shkreli managed to get out of his mouth in between sobs. “Not the government. There is no conspiracy to take down Martin Shkreli. I took down Martin Shkreli with my disgraceful actions. This is my fault. I am no victim here.”
Shkreli also took a moment to address anyone who may have been duped by his shady dealings. “I was never motivated by money. I wanted to grow my stature and reputation. I am here because of my gross, stupid and negligent mistakes I made.”
Shkreli’s pleas may have had some effect on his sentencing….or the judge at least took his pleas into consideration upon sentencing. Shkreli’s low sentencing guidelines called for a prison sentence of 18 months. The high called for a 15-year prison sentence. The high end of the guidelines was what prosecutors called for. Judge Kiyo Matsumoto sentenced Skhreli to 7 years. About half of what was recommended by prosecutors. Judges usually go with the recommendation of the prosecutors when considering sentencing for defendants. Judge Matsumoto said she struggled with what sentence to give Shkreli. She ultimately took Shkreli’s upbringing into account. His abusive father. His problem with panic attacks. His charitable contributions to groups and organizations. Blah….blah…blah. I’ve never heard a judge take anything into consideration when sentencing me, other than the sentencing guidelines. But then again….I’m not Martin Shkreli. It must be good to be Martin Shkreli. The crazy thing is that he probably doesn’t even realize how big of a break he caught. He’s likely too busy sitting in his cell crying right now. On a 7-year federal prison sentence, Shkreli could cut as much as 18-months off of the tab even though the Feds don’t have parole. He will earn at least six months good time on a 7-year sentence just for staying out of trouble. And if he can get into a drug treatment program (which he probably will) he can shave up to another year off of the sentence. Also, being sentenced to more than a 5-year prison term makes you eligible for maximum halfway house time (6 months). If things go his way, Skreli could be out in 5 years and a little change. Not a bad punishment for defrauding folks out of millions of dollars. Don’t you agree? The sweetener, is that if Shkreli has no previous record, he will probably serve his time in a prison camp, considering that fraud is not considered a violent crime. Prison camp is where some non-violent offenders are sent to do their time. So, if you thought Shkreli was going to have a tough go at it in a rough prison or even the penetintiary, think again. Prison camp is exactly what it sounds like…..camp. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, Shkreli will also receive credit for the six months he’s already sat behind bars after violating the terms of his probation.
Larry Nassar is going to a max-security prison facility. I was of the thinking that Nassar’s lack of a prior criminal record would likely get him sent to a low or medium custody facility to serve out his 60-year federal prison sentence. I was wrong. The nature of Nassar’s crimes were enough to get him sent to a max-custody facility. There’s a huge difference between a low custody and max custody prison, as Nassar will quickly find out. Not just in the security of the prison (two man cells as opposed to open dorms in low custody facilities), also in the level of violent crimes other inmates at the facility are likely there for. Nine times out of ten, this is going to be a very long and rough sixty years for Nassar. Maybe not though.
NBC News (@NBCNews) reports, Nassar has been transferred to a maximum-security federal prison that offers a sex-offender program, the Bureau Of Prisons website shows. Nassar started serving a 60-year prison sentence for possession of child pornography at the U.S penitentiary in Tucson, Arizona. In the unlikely event he outlasts that sentence, Nassar would be transferred to Michigan to begin serving two 40-year state sentences for the sexual abuse of 10 girls.
USP Tucson is part of the system’s Sex Offender Management Program, which means it has a higher proportion of sex-offenders on site and also offers treatment.
The reason I stated that Nassar may not have a hard time at it at his new prison, is because of the prison he has been sent to. An inmate coming into a prison with the type of crimes Nassar has been convicted of would be a target from the moment he steps through the door. Inmates gain reputation points just from causing harm to an inmate with sex crimes against children, in some cases, sex crimes period. Being sent to a prison that caters to inmates with the same charges as Nassar’s may save him from this fate/punishment. Nassar’s sex crimes against children are likely not even in the top 10 of the worst sex crimes committed against children at this facility. If he plays his cards right, he may be able to simply blend in with the crowd, even with the high-profile of his case. Then again…..maybe not. Things have a strange way of happening in the blink of an eye in prisons. Especially at max-custody prisons.