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September 2, 2011

A high-profile lesson in how not to show up to a federal halfway house

This amusing new item from the New York Times, which is headlined "U-Turn for T.I.: From Halfway House Back to Prison," makes for perfect Friday blog fare.  Here are the details:

The rap artist T.I. was sent back to prison Thursday after he showed up at a halfway house in Atlanta in a luxury bus with an entourage. He was sent to a federal prison in downtown Atlanta to continue serving his sentence on a parole violation a day after it was announced he had a book deal with HarperCollins and a television reality show lined up with VH1.

Federal prison authorities did not say why they had decided that T.I., whose real name is Clifford J. Harris Jr., should remain in a cell.  His lawyer, Steven H. Sadow, said they had taken issue with “T.I.’s method of transportation” from Forrest City, a low-security prison in Arkansas, to the Dismas House in Atlanta.

“We don’t comment on specific inmate behaviors,” said Chris Burke, a spokesman for the Bureau of Prisons. He said T.I., who is 30 and a native of Atlanta, would be released Sept. 29.

In 2009 T.I. was convicted of trying to buy unregistered guns and silencers from undercover federal agents and served about seven months in prison before being released on probation. He was arrested again in September 2010 in Los Angeles on drug charges after the authorities said he had been found with four ecstasy pills, and he received an 11-month sentence from a judge for violating his probation.

He was all set to spend the last month of that sentence at the halfway house, and posted a joyous note on Twitter as he was released Wednesday morning: “The storm is over & da sun back out.”

VH1 announced the same day that it would have television cameras follow him after he is released for a reality television show to be broadcast in December. MTV did a similar show on him in 2009 called “T.I.’s Road to Redemption.” He also has a novel called “Power & Beauty,” co-written with David Ritz, coming out. It tells of two childhood friends caught up in violence on the streets of Atlanta....

After he was released from prison in 2009 he spoke frequently to schoolchildren about the dangers of drugs and gangs as part of more than 1,000 hours of community service he was required to perform. A federal judge declared that experiment in rehabilitation had failed when the authorities in Los Angeles discovered that he was carrying ecstasy.

September 2, 2011 at 12:56 PM | Permalink


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while there may be some interesting First Amendment issues present here, people should not lose track of the most important issue involved in this case which is that Lil Flip is better.

(bill otis will not get this at all)

ginny :)

Posted by: virginia | Sep 2, 2011 2:06:19 PM

ginny --

"(bill otis will not get this at all)"

We are in complete agreement.

P.S. I think my failure to get it has something to do with my sins that you have previously identified, i.e., being rich, white and old, but I'm not too sure of that either.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Sep 2, 2011 3:13:51 PM

T.I. aka Clifford Harris was given a Greyhound bus ticket at the prison camp and then driven to town where he was supposed to take the Greyhound to Atlanta, just like any other inmate headed to a halfway house. Only thing different for him was that he hopped onto a luxury bus with an entourge for the ride back home. The BOP found out when they saw him on TV in the local Atlanta media. The BOP rightfully sent him straight to the Atlanta Penitentiary to finish out his sentence. T. I. is an idiot.

Posted by: mike | Sep 2, 2011 6:41:35 PM

no mike BOP is the idiot! the man has his own transportation....instead the retards WASTED yours and my FEDERAL TAX DOLLARS on a ticket that was NOT USED!

he got there on time! CASE CLOSED! unless there is some info left out of the article. i.e. he was DRUNK, DRUGED or something...

who gives a shit how he got there!

nope they would rather waste another 5-10 THOUSAND dollars watching him in a prison cell!


Posted by: rodsmith | Sep 2, 2011 9:05:31 PM

Rodsmith...you don't get my point. Lots of inmates released to a halfway house can afford private transportation to the halfway house. But the BOP mandates that they take the Greyhound. Maybe a dumb waste of money but that is strict BOP policy and T. I. KNEW IT. Still, he opted for the plush ride with his entourge in tow and the dumbass even had a film crew film him for a movie he wants to make. So that's why I say he is an idiot....he knew the BOP policy and ignored it because he is a privileged (in his own mind)rap star. Hope he enjoys the Atlanta peniteniary.

Posted by: mike | Sep 4, 2011 8:41:27 PM

'BOP mandates that they take the Greyhound'

Have never heard this one before...it's up to the individual to find their own way to the halfway house. They just point you in the direction of the nearest bus stop and kick your ass out the front door in your sweats and t-shirt and that's it. As long as you get there in the alotted time they could care less. It's up to the individual to figure it out. Sounds like pure B.S. on the part of the BOP.

Posted by: james | Sep 4, 2011 8:52:40 PM

well mike it MIGHT be BOP policy but does that BOP policy follow the LAW! would seem to me if it is POLICY and LAW they take the greyhound....he would have been taken and PUT on the bus just like the military does with new recruits.
would seem to be even MORE necessary with someone that technicaly hasn't even FINSIHED their court ordered prison sentence!

since it seems they didn't bother to do that kind of hard to say it's POLICY!

Posted by: rodsmith | Sep 5, 2011 12:36:33 AM


"but that is strict BOP policy and T. I. KNEW IT. Still, he opted for the plush ride with his entourge in tow and the dumbass even had a film crew film him for a movie he wants to make."

could also be probable that him and his lawyers know BOP is talking out it's rear about it being the law. They could also be betting on the fact that in a cut BEYOND THE BONE budget time anyone on the jury if this goes to trial is gonna want to slam BOP for it's waste!

Posted by: rodsmith | Sep 5, 2011 12:41:38 AM

bill: "I think my failure to get it has something to do with my sins that you have previously identified, i.e., being rich, white and old, but I'm not too sure of that either."

me: old most likely, since being rich and white does not exclude one from listening to rap :P

But seriously, I probably should be the one ashamed here for actually knowing about the T.I./Lil Flip beef and listening to mysognistic rap music. I must be a bad feminist ;)

mike: "The BOP found out when they saw him on TV in the local Atlanta media."

me: so essentially you are admitting that he is being punished solely because he is famous and attracted media attention. That seems to be a major violation of the First Amendment - essentially they are prosecuting him because they did not like the message that he sent by showing up in a luxury bus. How is this different from the state of California prosecuting C-Bo for "probation violation" because they did not like the lyrics on "Til My Casket Drops?" I do not see any difference at all - I mean, as you might be able to tell from my snark about Lil Flip being better, I am not a T.I. fan - but seriously - there are enough real crimes out there to worry about to not send someone to prison because the BOP does not like the fact the media covered his prison release and that the bus sent a message that he was rich and famous. I mean, if he showed up in a Greyhound bus or beat up car or rode a bicycle or even walked up to the gates, the media would have been there because he was famous.

If the US attorney tried to prosecute Lil Kim because she appeared on "Dancing with the Stars" after her release from prison, would you also be down with that? Or prosecute Martha Stewart for appearing on television?

mike: "even had a film crew film him for a movie he wants to make"

me: no, he has the right under the First Amendment to make the movie and he has a large company seeking to release it. He's being punished for exercising his First Amendment rights as an American citizen - and likely worse from the perspective of the BOP, making money off of it. Maybe you do not like his means or methods of expression, but he has the right to make a film about his release from prison and VH1 has the right to show it. The BOP should not be in the business of censoring people's expression - I am loathe to call it "art" because this will likely be a stupid reality show, but if he wants to make it, VH1 wants to show it, and people want to watch it, that is their right.

Last time I checked, the First Amendment is above alleged BOP Policy - which James says does not even actually exist - it does not seem like a good use of what we are constantly told is scarce federal tax dollars to keep T.I. in prison because the BOP does not like the fact that he is making a television program about his release.

Oh and Mike - even if the policy really existed and T.I. knew it - is he really that stupid? This got extensive news coverage which all mentioned his upcoming VH1 "reality" show. Many people are going to be curious to check out T.I.'s music or television program - or especially in the case of the lucrative teenager and young adult market simply want it because he has now been certified "dangerous" by the government and media. Would you spend 27 additional days in prison - no doubt getting special treatment because you are a celebrity - if you knew that it would be worth millions you got out? Good deterrence there BOP.

ginny :)

Posted by: virginia | Sep 5, 2011 8:50:04 AM

good one ginny! i hadn't even considered the media aspect of it. since i hate most of empty headed idiots with a passion!

Posted by: rodsmith | Sep 5, 2011 12:22:26 PM

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