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Prisons for white collar crime offenders no cakewalk

There is a popular myth that those convicted of financial crimes such as insider training, money laundering, business fraud, securities violations and theft have an easy time in prison. In reality, that is hardly the case. Those convicted of white collar crimes in Wisconsin, if they have been misled into expecting placement in a "country club" type of prison, may be in for a rude awakening -- literally.

White collar prisoners are awakened in most facilities as early as 6 a.m., with harsh prison lights beaming down on them and insistent guards reminding them that they have exactly an hour and a half to shower and use the facilities, get appropriately dressed, and make their bed to be able to pass inspection.

Also included in that rushed morning routine is a fleeting opportunity to eat breakfast, with the menu determined by the facility and limited by tight budget constraints. Then it is time for a full work day, where the maximum "wage" is $1.15 an hour, and the work assignment dictated by the prison. On even the best day that a prison inmate experiences while incarcerated, life is dull drudgery.

Privacy is non-existent and guards watch prisoners dressing, showering or using the toilet. Visits are very restricted and take place only a few hours a week. Many times, family and friends tend not to visit anyway because of the burden of travel to the prison in a remote location and the intrusive searches visitors are often subjected to for purposes of preventing the introduction of contraband into the facility.

The lesson is clear: A conviction for a white collar offense is nothing to take lightly, and any person accused of such a crime should try to take whatever steps they can to minimize their penalty. Consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney at the earliest possible moment is essential.

Source: CNBC.com, "White Collar 'Country Club' Prisons? Not So Much," Scott Cohn, Oct. 22, 2012

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