Blago's Prison Life Starts Thursday - NBC Chicago
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Blago's Prison Life Starts Thursday



    Previewing Blago's Prison

    Reporter Phil Rogers traveled to Littleton, Colorado to get a peek at the prison where Rod Blagojevich will spend his golden years. (Published Wednesday, March 14, 2012)

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    It would be hard to imagine a more picturesque setting for a more foreboding place.

    The Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Englewood, in Littleton, Colorado, sits on the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains – bordered on the east by a golf course, and surrounded on all sides by prairie dogs who seem oblivious to the ominous surroundings nearby.
    It’s a far cry from what Rob Blagojevich knew as the governor of Illinois.
    “Now he’s just a number,” says Wendy Feldman, a prison consultant and coach, and owner of Custodial Consulting.  Feldman spent sixteen months in a federal prison camp in 2006 and 2007, and now advises convicted criminals and their families on what to expect in prison.  She says the prison staff will not give former Gov. Blagojevich any special treatment.  “They are going to be hard on him.  Other inmates are going to be exceptionally hard on him.
    They have to get him to understand that he’s now an inmate; he’s not a governor; he’s not an ex-governor.  He’s an inmate.”
    Indeed, the man who once commanded an army of tens of thousands of state workers – and oversaw a $26 million campaign fund – will now have his mail opened and read before he ever sees it.  He will have to submit a list of just thirty people he will allowed to call, and those calls will be limited to a total of just 300 minutes a month.
    “As far as how they will treat him, they might do small things – like not give him a chair in the TV room,” says Feldman.  “That sounds small.  It’s actually big when you’re in prison.”
    Englewood is one of the oldest facilities in the Federal Bureau of Prisons system.  The complex includes Denver’s federal jail and a satellite prison camp.  But Blagojevich will be housed in the main prison, assigned to either a two-man or four-man room.  He’ll receive a work assignment immediately.  Most likely he’ll do latrine duty, which is the traditional job given to new arrivals.
    And his work day will start at 6:30 a.m.  For the governor who often would not be seen in his state office for weeks at a time, that’s a stark contrast.
    “This is what I try to get all my clients to understand:  There is a reason that you’ve gotten yourself this ticket to prison,” says Feldman.  “{Blagojevich] is going to have to learn humility, and then respect, and then he’ll need to ease in to the process, because he’s got such a long time to be there.”