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Here's What Michael Cohen's Prison Life Will Be Like

He begins 3-year sentence at a white-collar facility in Otisville, NY
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2019 9:30 AM CDT
Security stand at the entrance to the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, N.Y., Monday, May 6, 2019.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
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(Newser) – Michael Cohen begins a new, unwanted phase of his life on Monday: prisoner. President Trump's former attorney reports to the federal correctional institute in Otisville, NY, about 90 miles north of New York City, to start serving his three-year sentence for misdeeds including tax evasion and lying to Congress. But if you think this is some cushy, white-collar prison, well ... you're pretty much right. In fact, Forbes included Otisville in a 2009 list of "America's cushiest prisons." Some details:

  • Cohen will be in a light-security "satellite" prison next to Otisville's more standard medium-security facility. About 115 inmates sleep in bunks in barracks-like halls, per the AP, which ticks off amenities such as washers/dryers, microwaves, personal lockers, ice machines, tennis courts, horseshoes, and exercise equipment. All in all, "it sounds like the closest thing the federal prison system has to sleep-away camp," says the AP.
  • Fellow prisoners include Mike "the Situation" Sorrentino and Frye Festival organizer Billy McFarland, notes Talking Points Memo, which has a list of other high-profile inmates.

  • Otisville is a sought-after prison for Jewish detainees because of its kosher offerings of matzo ball soup, gefilte fish, and rugelach pastries, and it has a full-time rabbi for regular services, reports the Guardian. It's where Bernie Madoff wanted to go, though he ended up elsewhere in the federal system.
  • Still, it is a prison. "Prison is disrespectful. It's impersonal," a former Otisville case manager tells the Guardian. "He's never going to get any sleep because there's always lights on, there's always inmates snoring. There are officers walking around jingling keys. You shower out in the open. It's very demeaning."
In Cohen's last interview before prison, he wondered, "Why am I the only one going to jail?")

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