Welcome to North Carolina, Mr. Madoff. You don't mind if we call you Bernie, do you? Or do you prefer federal prisoner 61727-054?
You stepped out of the bus at the Butner prison on Tuesday, but you're not just another New York City retiree. Most of them get a spot a little closer to our golf courses in the Sand Hills or a sprawling beach house on our coast. But, you're at least close to Raleigh, our City of Oaks, about 45 miles to the southeast.
Butner is as fine as you can get, though, if you're forced to spend your golden years inside barbed wire. (We know this isn't how you meant to spend the next 150 years, but it's a no-no to bilk investors and charities of billions.)
We've had to shut down the tennis court and such (the Butner Federal Correctional Complex is a prison, after all), but there's plenty to keep you busy during the day. Maybe you'd like to help out in the cafeteria or do a little landscaping? It's a special place to be during March Madness, with the inherent rivalry between the prison's dormitories named for schools in the Atlantic Coast Conference. You ought to hear the trash talk between the guys in the Duke and Carolina dormitories.
Butner Federal Prison is actually a complex, with five units inside. It's got a terrific hospital (inmates from across the Southeast come here when they are sick). There's the camp for those on their way out, and the low-security portion, for short-timers. There are two medium-security correctional institutions. You'll be in the oldest one, a set of dormitories that are home to 725 drug dealers, bank robbers and gangsters.
We understand Butner doesn't look that fancy; the barbed wire's not that inviting, and the khaki uniforms are not exactly flattering. Perhaps you'll eventually forget about your $35,000 Lavar Kerman Persian carpet and the $20,000 Chippendale-style tea table and your $7 million penthouse.
Don't worry. You'll get a chore to take your mind off things. Once you clear a physical, you'll get kitchen detail or maybe be on a painting crew. Ever made eyeglasses before? You can learn.
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