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October 29, 2013

Jesse Jackson Jr. unable to check in early to federal prison system

This new story from the Chicago Tribune about the failed attempt by a fallen prominent politician provides some further evidence that few get special treatment from the federal Bureau of Prisons. The piece is headlined "Jackson Jr. turned away after showing up at prison early," and here are the (amusing?) details:

Convicted former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. tried to report Monday to a federal prison in North Carolina but was turned away, a prison spokesman said this morning.

Chris McConnell, executive assistant at Butner Federal Correctional Complex near Durham, declined to specify why Jackson was not allowed to surrender to the prison, but the ex-congressman did appear at Butner days earlier than expected. The sentencing judge had told Jackson to report no earlier than Friday, court documents show.

McConnell said the former lawmaker was turned away during the afternoon hours. He said press accounts in which Rep. G. K. Butterfield, D-N.C., described a paperwork problem being worked out at the prison were “very accurate.” Butterfield reportedly accompanied Jackson to the prison.

At the Bureau of Prisons in Washington, spokesman Ed Ross said this morning he could confirm that Jackson was not in bureau custody. He declined to elaborate on what occurred Monday or to say what is expected to happen next. It was not immediately clear when Jackson would be able to start his 30-month prison sentence.

Jackson was sentenced in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after pleading guilty. Sheldon Snook, the administrative assistant to its chief judge, said today that he reviewed Jackson’s court docket and saw no change from a judgment entered in August indicating the former congressman shall surrender “no earlier than Nov. 1, 2013.” That is Friday....

The confusion over Jackson's whereabouts began Monday when his lawyer's spokeswoman said the ex-congressman had reported to prison. Bunnie Jackson-Ransom, an Atlanta publicist for Jackson lawyer C.K. Hoffler, said Jackson arrived at the Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina sometime after 2 p.m. Chicago time Monday. But McConnell, contacted late Monday afternoon, denied Jackson was in custody. And Ross cited the "inmate locator" on the prison system's website, which listed Jackson as "not in BOP custody" -- a status that remained as of 7 a.m. today Chicago time....

Jackson, 48, who was convicted of looting his campaign fund of $750,000, has been given an inmate number: 32451-016. Jackson is expected to join other high-profile felons at Butner. It is home to rogue financier Bernard Madoff; spy Jonathan Pollard; Omar Ahmad Rahman, the "blind sheik" convicted for plotting to blow up New York City landmarks; and Jon Burge, the former Chicago police commander under whose watch African-American suspects were tortured into making false confessions to rape and murder, records show....

Jackson, the son of civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson, reportedly has depression and bipolar disorder. Jackson Jr. pleaded guilty to stealing $750,000 from his campaign from 2005 to 2012 to pay for vacations, furs, celebrity memorabilia and even two elk heads. He was ordered to pay $750,000 in restitution. According to a court filing last week, the ex-congressman will pay $200,000 by Friday and then sell his Washington home. By May 15, attorneys will give the judge a report on how much he has paid.

Some prior related posts on Jackson prosecution and sentencing:

October 29, 2013 at 09:54 AM | Permalink


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In July 2001, I began serving my 8 year Federal prison sentence at the Low Security Prison at Butner, North Carolina. I suspect that Jackson, Jr. will serve his time at either the Low or at the Federal Medical Center (FMC) at Butner, which has psychiatrists to monitor and treat his bi-polar disorder. Because of Jackson's background, white-collar convictions and lack prior criminal history, it doesn't make sense that he would end up at the FCI (Medium Security) prison, where Bernie Madoff is serving 150 years. Jackson, Jr. is the kind of inmate who would normally qualify to be placed by the BOP a Camp, but I believe that at least initially, because his case is so high profile, he will be placed behind the wire at the Low or at the FMC (where the BOP performs psych evaluations, including the one performed on John Hinckley, after he shot President Reagan in 1981). Although Jackson, Jr. appears to have tried to report early to avoid the press coverage, the BOP can't take him into custody prior to the date specified in the Court's Order of Judgment and Commitment (Nov. 1); they may not have yet received his paperwork from the Court of from the BOP in D.C. yet.

Posted by: Jim Gormley | Oct 29, 2013 10:05:16 AM

How does this sentence enhance public safety, deter the defendant, repay the misused funds, or any other benefit, save retribution and gov make work prison jobs?

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Oct 30, 2013 10:47:28 AM

Actually, the Judge can not control when/where someone reports...they can only recommend. My husband showed up at Lexington FMC on the date the judge ordered, and was also turned away, because the BOP did not have the appropriate paper work.
Because he was not where he was "supposed to be", warrant was put out for his surrender to the local Marshall's. He sat all day in the Marshall's office in leg irons...(after never even being arrested!--he came to arraignment, trial, etc on his own recognizance with NO BOND---and was home for the YEAR between trial and sentencing---the court expressly found that he was not a danger to the community or a flight risk---and had specifically ordered him TO Lexington on a certain date---he followed orders to no avail)
After reporting to the Marshall's and his whole day there...he was transported to the local jail, then flown on Con Air to Oklahoma City where he waited for assignment...he was then transported by bus...fully manacled to Terre Haute, Indiana..
This was a far cry from the intended self surrender as ordered by the Judge...
He did NOT get to self surrender
He did NOT get placed where Judge Ordered....
after exemplary behavior throughout the entire process, he was subjected to the worst elements of BOP---Con Air, placement FAR from judge intended placement, and many, many hours in manacles and leg irons.
AND once the BOP gets you, you are done for. They are in complete control.
Seems to me there is a disconnect at the Judge level.
A HORRIBLE experience for my first time offender husband.

Posted by: folly | Oct 30, 2013 11:06:27 AM

Folly, you should write a book or at least a blog.
It is sad to think that this is what happens in the justice system of our country.
The BOP makes its own rules with what oversight?
As I understand it, if an inmate goes to prison on a charge that is categorized as a sex offense, the BOP will let them visit and talk to their children on the phone, visit in person, no problems. HOWEVER, at the halfway house NO visits, NO talking on the phone for the entire time at halfway. The 6 months halfway time then becomes not a way to be integrated to family but another way to torture everyone, with children wondering why they are no longer allowed contact. In a family that is trying to be functional it is very harmful to the children. BOP doesn't really care.
The BOP likes to work in secret. That needs to stop.

Posted by: athought | Oct 30, 2013 11:46:08 AM

Athought, I might just get there (on that book)---as I've told this blog before, I was basically indicted for buying a boat (etc.)--otherwise known as "money laundering", went through a three week trial (one of the less than 5% of Federally accused persons who do)---and was acquitted on all charges. However, acquittal does NOT mean you get your property back. I had lots of property seized from me in 2008, and am STILL fighting (more than FIVE YEARS LATER) to get it back...It took until March of 2013 to have a hearing, and now, nearly 8 months later I have no ruling from the judge, despite bringing up due process numerous times.
Dealing with that, and loss of spouse of 30 years...and being left a single parent, etc. No end in sight. Waiting the appeal in spouse's case, waiting for ruling in my case.

Posted by: folly | Oct 30, 2013 3:11:09 PM

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