Bernie Madoff is not going gentle into that good night of prison life. Instead, he has hired a top prison consultant to help him find the best possible joint in which to spend the rest of his life.
Herb Hoelter, CEO of the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives (NCIA), has provided the same service to other high-profile felons, including Ivan Boesky, Michael Milken and Sotheby's Alfred Taubman.
Madoff will certainly not be eligible for one of the country-club prisons, given the despicable nature of his crimes, but his team will want to be prepared with arguments why he should not be thrown into a hellhole with the worst of violent offenders, such as the Administrative Maximum facility in Florence, Colorado. I suspect that many of his victims, on the other hand, would be delighted to see him locked up with murderers, rapists, terrorists and Jew-hating white supremacists.
According to the London Times, the 150-year sentence Madoff received makes him ineligible for any of the Club Fed prisons. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons uses a "Security Point Total," which represents a prisoner's risk, to determine the level of security the prisoner requires. Depending on his number, Madoff could be assigned to facilities ranging from a minimum-security prison camp (as in Martha's Stewart's stretch at Camp Cupcake) to a "Supermax" facility.
So far, Madoff has spent his time in a maximum-security environment at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York. Hoelter said, "He has been incarcerated under very difficult conditions in these past months. Anywhere he goes is likely to be better than where he is now, unless they throw him into the Supermax . . . He will be able to get exercise. He will be able to do something that makes him productive. He may be able to tutor other inmates."
At sentencing, the judge recommended that Madoff be sent to a low- or medium-security prison in the Northeast. However, this decision is left solely up to the Bureau of Prisons. Madoff will have Hoelter's recommendations to put forth if he's given a chance to make his case .
Boesky served his time at the Lompoc Federal Prison, aka Club Fed West. Mike Milken served 22 months at a minimum-security prison in Pleasanton, California. Taubman spent his nine and a half months at the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, Minnesota, getting medical care on the government dime. Taubman's book, Threshold Resistance, contains some prison advice Madoff may find useful, such as making friends, keeping a pleasant demeanor, and bringing reading material. I'd add one; don't try to start a cigarette investment fund. Eventually, someone will invest a shiv.