Disgraced former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. is coming under criticism for trumpeting his efforts to enter prison early to serve a 30-month sentence for illegally spending $750,000 in campaign funds.
Jackson tried to turn himself in four days early at the Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina, but was turned away Monday before being processed the next day. A news release from the Jackson camp about the attempt has apparently irked prison officials while making others wonder if the move was in the former congressman’s best interest.
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Cheri Nolan is the managing director at Federal Prison Consultants, a Florida-based firm that helps advocate for inmates. She told the Chicago Tribune that she has never heard of anyone in the past who put out a news release announcing someone’s surrender,
and she called it a bad idea.
"Prison is not something to be celebrated — it’s punishment," she told the Tribune. "It’s a separation from society for something you have done wrong, and our clients would prefer to remain anonymous."
Jackson is a 48-year-old Democrat who represented a district in the South Side of Chicago for nearly 17 years before resigning in November of 2012 while he was being investigated for possible corruption. He was sentenced in August for looting his campaign funds.
He is now prison inmate 32451-016.
Jackson’s wife, Sandi, was sentenced to 12 months behind bars after pleading guilty to signing off on tax returns that underreported the couple’s income.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Jackson Jr. has agreed to sell his Washington, D.C., home
and use the proceeds to pay a $750,000 fine. He has agreed to pay $200,000 by Thursday, with part of the money coming through the liquidation of an investment account.
Jackson reportedly suffers from bipolar disorder, and his father, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, said his son – who began receiving treatment last year – is still in recovery.
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