One of the scariest things that can happen to a person is finding out that you’re going to be spending some time in prison. Thanks to the dramatic nature of TV and film, we always envision prisons as rough and tumble places where the prisoners make the real rules, and getting stabbed in the laundry room is just a potential work hazard. For those that have committed a violent crime, prison might be a battle for dominance and survival, but not everyone in the slammer is struggling to get by.
Not all prisons are created equal, and if you’re a wealthy individual who was found guilty of committing white collar crimes, then you normally don’t have to get sent to the hard and dangerous prisons that you see on TV. Prison for the rich is like a day at camp, where you get to hang out with your friends; you get tossed in with all of the other former politicians and ponzi schemers: these places are referred to as luxury prisons, or even prison country clubs.
#10 – Los Angeles County Jail (Special Needs Unit)
Don’t get us wrong, the Los Angeles County Jail is one of the toughest county jails in the entire country, but not all of it is decked out with state of the art security and barbed wire. The average daily population of the LA County Jail tops out at around 22,000, and it’s consistently listed as one of the worst prisons in regards to the treatment of inmates. Los Angeles County Jail has been the subject of several complaints, and just some of the biggest include unsanitary conditions, and failure to provide food to the inmates.
One unit where none of those things seem to happen in Los Angeles County Jail is the Special Needs Unit: this is where all of the stars are placed when they have to do their time; some prisoners are allowed to bring their own food in, and for up to $175 per day, they can receive access to all of the commodities that remind them of home such as computers and iPods. Los Angeles County Jail may pull a lot of its funding off of these preferential services, but I don’t think letting celebs Google themselves is particularly appropriate prison etiquette.
#9 – Butner Federal Correctional Institution
Located about 25 miles from Raleigh (the North Carolina state capital), is the Butner Federal Correctional Complex; there are about 5,000 inmates inside Butner, and a little less than half are sent to the minimum security wing of the prison. The minimum security wing is home to Bernie Madoff, the man responsible for the largest ponzi scheme in United States history, and other names associated with various frauds and swindles. Madoff’s residency comes despite the fact he was sentenced to 150 years in prison, and minimum security is only for inmates with less than a decade to serve (when they say “minimum security” I guess they mean it).
Butner is also the prison where Jeffrey Skilling was sent as a part of the massive financial case against Enron, so you can be sure that some big money flows through these walls. The staff at Butner is what makes it such an easy place to live during your stay; Butner is located in the middle of the “Research Triangle,” which means that some of the brightest young minds in the state work at Butner as interns: teaching college level courses, and making it more like a dorm than a prison. And just like the dorms in college, your stay in Butner comes complete with a jerk roommate who doesn’t mind your personal space.