Prison life to bring drastic changes for Jessie Jr., Sandi Jackson family

August 14, 2013

ABC7 has a look at where the couple may serve time and what they can expect behind bars. For the former congressman, prison life couldn't be more different than the extravagant lifestyle that landed him in legal trouble.

New federal prisoners typically sleep on a top bunk. He'll likely wear a standard issue prison uniform, and could be assigned to scrub toilets, or work in a kitchen or laundry.

"They're standard federal facilities. There are worse places, God knows. There are better; you'd rather have your liberty," said Gil Soffer, former federal prosecutor.

Jackson Jr. has requested he serve his time in one of two federal prisons-- either at the low-security penitentiary in Butner, North Carolina, where inmates include Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff, or at the federal prison camp in Birmingham, Alabama, where documents show inmates earn anywhere from $0.23 per hour to $1.46 an hour.

Sandy Jackson has asked to be housed at the Mariana federal prison in Florida's panhandle. The judge Wednesday agreeing to recommend that the Jacksons serve their time separately for the sake of their two kids, ages 13 and 9.

"It's not that unusual, and I wouldn't call this a special dispensation because of who they are or who they were," said Soffer.

Gail Smith has represented thousands of incarcerated women, and says children are especially impacted when a mother goes away.

"Most children whose mothers go to prison have to go move someplace else to live with another relative," said Gail Smith, Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers.

Former Cicero town president Betty Loren-Maltese, who served time for corruption, told ABC7 she only recently reconciled with her daughter after years of estrangement.

"If you lose someone that you really care about, that's the worst hurt," said Betty Loren-Maltese.

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