Former Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen will report to a federal minimum-security prison in Upstate New York on Monday, joining a couple of other criminals whose crimes made them “D-list” celebrities, Yahoo! News reports.
As prisons go, Federal Correctional Institution, Otisville is comparatively relaxed. Tucked into the Catskills, the prison houses two facilities — a medium-security prison that holds violent offenders, including former NFL star Darren Sharper, who is serving a 20-year sentence for rape; and a satellite minimum-security facility, where Cohen will be housed.
The minimum-security facility where Cohen will serve his three-year sentence for tax evasion is home to a couple of other celebrity crooks, including some recognizable names. One is Billy McFarland, the businessman whose ill-fated Fyre Festival defrauded investors and attendees out of an estimated $27.4 million. Another is former Jersey Shore star Michael “The Situation” Sorrentino, who’s doing time for tax evasion.
In addition to the “celebrity” company he’ll keep, Cohen will enjoy amenities that may seem mundane to the average American, but are the envy of other federal prisoners. There are microwaves, ice machines, and semi-private laundry facilities.
The prison is also the top choice of white-collar criminals who, like Cohen, are Jewish. Because so many of its inmates are Jews, the prison offers Kosher meals as well as Friday-night Shabbat services.
We are here at Otisville Federal Prison. Convicted of FEDERAL Corruption Charges, DEAN SKELOS AND HIS SON ADAM start serving time today. Adam at different facility. #FiOS1News #deanskelos #Nassaucounty pic.twitter.com/ABstsIdbqK— Dominic Carter (@DominicTV) January 8, 2019
In fact, the prison is widely considered one of the country’s “10 cushiest prisons,” per Forbes, even earning the nickname “Club Fed.”
However, people who have worked there — or have done time there — say that this is hardly the case. Even minimum-security inmates are separated from their friends and families, have every minute of every day scheduled, and are essentially treated like numbers, says former Otisville case manager Jack Donson.
“Prison is disrespectful. It’s impersonal… You shower out in the open. It’s very demeaning.”
What’s more, says Donson, Cohen will have a hard time getting sleep. The lights are always on, and guards are always walking by, jingling keys.
Another problem for Cohen is that he testified against Donald Trump. That could make him a target of bullying — and even violence — from other prisoners, some of whom may be Trump supporters. Other prisoners may take exception to him for having “snitched.”
If that’s not bad enough, there’s also the fact that the prison is comparatively accessible to the general public. Cohen may be hounded by paparazzi — and possibly even be put at risk of being attacked by someone who’s not an inmate — in certain scenarios.