Jesse Jackson Jr. could end up in one of the nation’s cushiest prisons
Former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. will learn whether and for how long he could go to prison Wednesday — but he’s already shown a preference for some of the nation’s poshest pens.
The one-time lawmaker from Illinois pleaded guilty on Feb. 20 to raiding $750,000 from his campaign fund to make a slew of personal purchases, including a $43,000 Rolex, vacations and other luxury items. He and his wife are due to be sentenced in a Washington district court on Wednesday.
“For years I lived off my campaign,” Jackson said in court in February. “I used money that should have been for campaign purposes for personal purposes.”
Jackson, the son of civil-rights activist Jesse Jackson, resigned his seat representing Illinois in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012, citing mental health issues. He had sought treatment for bipolar depression for prolonged periods at the Mayo Clinic, amidst ongoing federal investigations. Speculation had swirled before his resignation at home and on Capitol Hill about the reasons behind Jackson’s long, unexplained absences.
In preparation for his sentencing hearing on Wednesday, Jackson’s attorneys named their client’s first choices for where to spend time behind bars: the Federal Prison Camp in Montgomery, Ala., or the Federal Correctional Institution Butner, in North Carolina.
By chance or design, both of the prisons named by attorneys for the one-time lawmaker on Monday made a 2009 Forbes list of the nation’s “cushiest prisons.”
“FPC Montgomery is the closest FPC to Washington, D.C.,” Jackson’s attorneys wrote in their formal request, “and would, as such, allow Mr. Jackson to maintain contact with his wife and children during incarceration.”
Jackson’s second choice, Butner, is about 500 miles from Washington, his attorneys noted, and would allow his children to visit. The prison is also near where Jackson went to college in North Carolina, the lawyers wrote, and he “has significant ties to the area, which he believes will aid in his rehabilitation during any term of incarceration.”
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