Judge recommends Colorado low-security prison for Blagojevich

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

CHICAGO — A federal judge on Tuesday agreed to
recommend that Rod Blagojevich serve his 14-year prison sentence at a
low-security federal prison in Littleton, Colo.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel also agreed to extend
Blagojevich’s surrender date to March 15 unless the former governor is
able to sell his Ravenswood Manor residence before then. Last week, the
judge had ordered Blagojevich to report to prison on Feb. 16.

Although Blagojevich would rather have been sent to a
minimum-security prison camp, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons will not
usually consider that option for defendants sentenced to 10 or more
years in prison, said Blagojevich’s attorney, Sheldon Sorosky.

“It’s kind of like applying to school,” Sorosky said
of deciding to request a low-security facility instead of a camp. “If
the kid who’s got all C’s asks to go to Harvard, he’s probably not going
to get in.”

Prison camps are the lowest security in the federal
prison system and generally feature unsecured perimeters and
dormitory-style living. The nearest prison camp to Chicago is in Oxford,
Wis.

Low-security facilities, meanwhile, have secured
perimeters, but instead of prison cells, they usually have dormitory
living facilities, according to the Bureau of Prisons. The low-security
facility in Littleton — officially known as the Federal Correctional
Institution Englewood — is located 15 miles southwest of Denver,
according to the Bureau of Prisons website.

In sentencing Blagojevich last week, Zagel agreed to
recommend that Blagojevich serve his time at a low-security prison and
asked his attorneys to suggest a location.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons will make any final decision on where Blagojevich will be incarcerated.

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©2011 the Chicago Tribune

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