No Locks On Cell Doors At ‘Club Fed’ Prison For Paul Manafort: ‘More Of A College Setting’

The Maryland facility even has an overnight guest wing for family and friends to stay over while visiting.

Paul Manafort arrives at a hearing.
Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The Maryland facility even has an overnight guest wing for family and friends to stay over while visiting.

As the outrage over the sentencing for President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort continues to unfold, a new wrinkle has emerged regarding the facility where he is sentenced to spend 47 months for fraud and hiding millions of dollars overseas to avoid taxes. According to The Daily Mail, the Maryland Federal Correctional Facility where Manafort will presumably serve out his 47-month sentence is known as “Club Fed” for its ridiculously chill atmosphere. Insiders describe the Cumberland, Maryland, facility as having no locks on the cell doors, inmate access to phone calls at all times, access to sending and receiving not only snail-mail but email as well, and even a special wing where overnight guests such as family or other visitors can stay.

“It’s kind of like a junior college setting,” said Larry Levine, director and founder of Wall Street Prison Consultants which advises white-collar criminals on where they might be sentenced. “I don’t want to call it a stress-free environment, but it’s a lot of hanging out with the other inmates, you know, just bullsh***ing.”

If all that doesn’t appeal to Manafort, he will also have access to a gym, a softball field, and a running track. And if playing sports himself isn’t his style, each wing of the facility reportedly has televisions showing sports channels 24/7. Prisoners are also free to walk out the door when they’re doing work in the yard, surrounded by a picture-postcard scene of forested Maryland countryside. One Washington, D.C., defense attorney reportedly likened it to a “boys’ dormitory,” with no bars, no towers, and no barbed wire fences.

Paul Manafort in his mug shot.
  Alexandria Sheriff's Office / Getty Images

Even before the “stress-free” facility to which Manafort will be headed was known, outrage erupted across the nation and the world at the sentence he received, totaling just under four years. That’s because the federal sentencing guidelines for the crimes of which he has been convicted recommend 19 to 24 years.

The judge in the case, U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III, said he found the guidelines “too excessive” when he handed down the sentence and enjoined anyone who doubted that life is actually pretty tough in a federal facility to try it themselves.

“Go and spend a day, a week in jail or in the federal penitentiary,” Judge Ellis said. “He has to spend 47 months.”

The judge went on to express sympathy for the 69-year-old Manafort, saying that he has “lived an otherwise blameless life,” despite his upcoming trial in a D.C. court on conspiracy charges.

Those charges potentially carry an additional 10 years, which would likely be spent in a similar “college setting.”