Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Did you hear the one about the felon who was turned away from prison?

Only Jesse Jackson, Jr., could pull off a moment like this.

JACKSON: He'll be back in 2 years
Most people who get convicted of a political corruption-type of offense have their day where they enter prison, then they get forgotten about in the public eye for some time.


It seems he showed up on Monday at the Butner Federal Correctional Complex near Durham, N.C.  I lost track of the number of newspaper and television-based websites that went ahead and published the story about the former Congressman and namesake son of the famed civil rights leader now being just a number among all the other prison inmates.

It wasn’t to the extreme of when Rod Blagojevich went to prison and had helicopters and news trucks following him – so we could see the moment when he stopped off at a fast-food joint for a final hamburger and how we saw him get snubbed when he tried to shake the hands of the guards who “greeted” him at his prison facility in Colorado.

But Jackson wound up becoming newsworthy in his own way.

BECAUSE IT SEEMS the prison officials in North Carolina refused to admit Jackson to their facility.

For an extra day, Jackson remained free (to the dismay of his ideological critics who have drawn way too much pleasure from his ordeal, but that's a subject matter for another day)!

Prison officials are being very vague about what exactly went wrong, although the Chicago Tribune reported that one prison official called “very accurate” the description by Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., that there were paperwork problems.

It also seems that Jackson was told by the federal judge in the District of Columbia who sentenced him to a 30-month sentence (which will become something just over two full years, presuming he earns all the “good time” possible) had told him he had until Friday to report to prison to avoid becoming a federal fugitive from justice.

DID JACKSON REALLY think he could show up early and perhaps get a head start on doing his time? The one thing I have come to know from years of being a reporter-type person dealing with federal bureaucrats is that they are the types who have their regulations.

They want them followed strictly. And they’re not about to let anyone tell them what to do.

Which is probably the reason why they’d turn him away. There probably are people who work in the federal Bureau of Prisons who are thinking these days that Jackson, Jr., is some sort of an arrogant sort for thinking he could dictate to them when his prison time should start.

Of course, there is the very legitimate point that the Bureau of Prisons ought to be strictly regulated in terms of whom they can hold. Without a specific court order saying he should be there, they really do have no right to hold Jackson in their custody before his sentence formally begins.

SO THE OUTCOME of all of this was just a delay. It wound up that when Jackson tried again on Tuesday to check into prison, he was accepted. His final day of freedom was spent in the greater Durham area (not that he was able to see the Durham Bulls play ball, their season’s over) before he began to serve his time.

In the end, prison officials were more than willing to suck him into their system and begin the process of intimidation that is meant to let he (and all other inmates) know who is boss.

But Jackson will wind up earning his place in the Chicago Corruption Hall of Fame for the way in which he was refused a place in prison – at least for a day or so.


No comments: