Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Interesting Story About Former Qwest CEO Nacchio's Prison Experience

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article about the prison experience of former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio.  Nacchio spent 54 months in federal prison after being convicted by a jury of selling $52 million in stock as Qwest's prospects began to deteriorate.
Mr. Nacchio spent most of his sentence in two Pennsylvania facilities called camps, the lowest level of security offered by the Bureau of Prisons.

There are no bars and no walls around the perimeter. Camp inmates can send emails.

But they are awakened in the night for security checks. Phone calls are limited to about 10 minutes a day. Visitors are allowed but only every other weekend and some holidays.

Prison experts and former inmates say conditions are less comfortable for white-collar criminals than they were in the 1980s, when media stories about leafy prison camps with sparkling athletic facilities surfaced during the savings-and-loan crisis. They say authorities took down tennis nets in at least one camp and cut off inmate access to golf courses and swimming pools.

A Bureau of Prisons spokesman said federal camps do not have pools and said the agency doesn't keep records of past amenities.

"There is no such thing as a Club Fed," said prison consultant Alan Ellis, who advises white-collar convicts about life in prison.

Mr. Nacchio's fellow inmates included former Galleon Group trader Zvi Goffer and his brother Emanuel Goffer, both serving time for an insider-trading scheme. Mr. Nacchio got to know both of them.

But the two prison camps where Mr. Nacchio served, named Schuylkill and Lewisburg, were in large part populated with drug offenders, Mr. Nacchio said—men with muscular builds, covered in tattoos, and often two decades younger than him. Two of them became his guardian angels.

"Joe was right down to earth," said Spoonie, who asked that his real name not be used because of the stigma his drug-conspiracy conviction carries.

Spoonie, 45, said other white-collar offenders were "just all full of themselves," and stereotyped inmates such as himself and Juice, another drug offender, because of their tattoos and crimes.

"We are like best friends now," he said, adding that Mr. Nacchio's prison nickname was "Joe-ski-luv," because he's been married to the same woman for more than 30 years. "If he ever needs a lung or a bone, I'm there."
The entire article is available here.

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