Jesse Jackson Jr. admitted to NC prison after arriving days early

October 29, 2013 (RALEIGH, N.C.)

Tuesday is Jesse Jackson Jr.'s first night in prison. He has roughly 700 more. Eyewitness News spotted the former congressman concealing his face as prison staff hustled him away.

Jackson arrived at the federal prison in Butner, North Carolina, Monday, but was initially turned away because he was several days early. After some paperwork, he was admitted around 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Jackson's desire for a quick, quiet and early entry into the federal prison system was apparently not cleared with prison officials in advance. They turned him away Monday evening because he was scheduled to report until Friday, at the earliest.

"He wanted to report early - nothing more, nothing less, because the sooner he reported, the sooner he could get back to his children," said Jackson attorney Tricia C.K. Hoffler. "When we left we got a call that we had to come back. Because of an administrative snafu we had to allow them to do what they had to do, which is what we did. He reported this morning... This is a very difficult time - it has less to do with the media than with someone who is prepared to begin repaying his debt to society."

Jackson's first day as a federal inmate included a medical exam, fingerprinting, a mugshot and a new uniform: Khaki clothes and work boots. He was also given a rulebook.

"While he's in prison he's going to reflect on his life and he's going to look at the opportunities that will be in front of him," said Delmarie Cobb, former Jackson political consultant.

The former congressman from Chicago was accompanied by Representative G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina, with whom he served for several years.

"Congressman Jackson and I have been good friends for many years, and I am happy to report that he is in good spirits, all things considered," Butterfield said through a news release.

In August, Jackson was sentenced to two-and-a-half years for using $750,000 of his campaign money on home improvements, furs, entertainment and travel. Last week, Jackson's attorneys told a judge he could only pay $200,000 of it back now, but he'll sell his Washington, D.C., home to raise more money.

While Jackson is expected to be assigned to a low-security wing of the prison outside the Raleigh-Durham area, it'll be a far fall from the positions he previously enjoyed. The son of a civil rights leader, a promising politician, and even after his conviction, he continued to enjoy "the good life." The ABC 7 I-Team spotted Jackson pool-side at a posh Beverly Hills hotel in August.

Jackson is expected to spend several weeks going through prison orientation, get a permanent bunk assignment and assigned a job - possibly in the prison laundry or kitchen. The facility also has a factory that produces furniture and other items for government use. But those jobs are in high demand.

Jackson's publicist made no mention of any Jackson family members accompanying him during his final few hours of freedom. Jackson is said to be looking forward to the time when he can have visitors, in about two weeks.

The Butner federal prison is home to several famous felons, including former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge, convicted swindler Bernie Madoff and spy Jonathan Pollard.

Copyright © 2024 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.