Cushy Life for Crooks

Cushy Life for Crooks

‘If any jail sentences result from the Enron hearings,’ writes
Russell Wild of the Detroit alternative weekly Metro
Times,
‘the time will likely be served at Allenwood.’ This
may not satisfy incensed stockholders, for the Allenwood Federal
Prison Camp — where salad bars replace metal bars and cribbage
groups outnumber gangs — seems more like a membership to a men’s
club than a punishment.

Allenwood, in rural Pennsylvania, is one of about 10
minimum-security prisons in America. It holds 725 inmates, many of
whom are high-level white collar criminals. The prisoners share
copies of The Wall Street Journal, teach each other the ins and
outs of accounting or the rules of Latin, and crowd the Allenwood
library day and night — working on their appeals.

‘They’re bright, educated, and ooze charisma,’ says Wild. ‘They’re
also unlucky.’ White collar crime costs 10 to 20 times more than
all street crime, yet ‘a mere crumb’ of the 14 millions arrests
last year came from a penthouse office, and only a quarter of those
arrests will be imprisoned. Certainly, these ‘Camp’-mates are used
to the 40-hour work weeks they endure at Allenwood, but the 11 to
32 cents-per-hour wages are quite humbling.
–Abbie Jarman
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