Blago will be treated like any other prisoner

March 14, 2012 8:31:17 PM PDT
Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich won't get special treatment when he reports to the Federal Correctional Institution at Englewood, Colo., on Thursday.

The Bureau of Prisons has rules for just about every conceivable thing. Behind the fence, there is also a common practice that is unwritten.

The first two hours will be among his toughest, because he will be strip searched, fingerprinted and photographed. He will get a bed roll, a tiny hygiene kit and he walk his way into the general population. He may share a cell with up to three inmates. He will go through a two- to three-week orientation period.

New arrivals usually get a top bunk with an old mattress. They usually clean toilets as one of their first jobs.

They are reminded if they start to wax poetic about who they used to be, they will be told to shut up because no one cares. Respect is a big deal.

"When you walk in front of someone say excuse me because, like I said, he may wind up with a fist in his face," said Larry Levine, Wall Street prison consultant.

More than 40 percent of the inmates Blagojevich will come to know here are doing time for drug offenses. The average length of their sentence is 10 years.

Violent incidents here are fairly low in number, but making friends and watching your back is never easy behind the fence.

"I'll bet if you check back in a month he'll be the most popular inmate," said Sam Adam Jr., who defended Blagojevich during his first trial.

Adam said his good friend is devastated, but holding up, and points out what many have long known - that Blagojevich has an extraordinary ability to remember names and faces. He knows how to win a crowd, perhaps even the crowd behind the fence.

"He has a wonderful personality," Adam said. "He'll charm the other inmates. He'll end up being the governor of the correctional facility out there."