March 23rd, 2009
11:04 AM ET

Prison advice for Bernie Madoff

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/01/09/madoff.alexandra.penney/art.madoff.gi.jpg]

Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

The Wall Street fraud who scammed investors out of $64 billion will be sentenced in June. Bernard Madoff could receive as much as 150-years behind bars. For the 70-year-old felon, even a fraction of the maximum term will most likely mean he'll die in prison.

But where will he do the time? The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) lists five classifications of security for institutional placement: minimum, low, medium, and high. The latter, high, are also known as United States Penitentiaries.

There are also "administrative facilities," where services run the gamut from detaining pretrial offenders and convicts with medical problems, to housing the most violent inmates in locations called 'administration-maximum penitentiaries' – also known as 'SuperMax.'

In deciding Madoff's future home, multiple factors will be considered, and the BOP uses a point system to determine where offenders will be confined. Ed Bales, managing director of Federal Prison Consultants, says the points are based on several variables such as the length of the sentence and the nature of the crime. The more points an inmate has, the greater the chance he or she will be sent to a higher security prison.

If Madoff ends up in a medium or maximum security facility, he'll be joining rapists, murderers and other violent offenders. "They'll think nothing of killing him if they don't like him," Bales warns. "He may be marked."

That's why Madoff may first be placed in a segregated unit. As much as he is despised, the BOP will be looking out for Madoff's safety. "They're trying to protect him, they just don't know how the general population will react to Bernie Madoff," says Bales.

What advice does Bales have for this infamous swindler? "I would tell him to keep himself as active as possible but keep himself out of the spotlight," he says. Bales suggests Madoff enroll, if allowed, in classes and programs, to keep his mind occupied.

But ultimately, Bales, who assists individuals in prison placement designations, predicts a very bleak and unhappy future for perhaps the most hated man in the country right now, saying, "Personally, I guess if I were Madoff, I would rather be dead than go through the regiment he is going to have go through for the rest of his life."

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. David Weld

    I'm not a Harvard grad but even I know, if it's too good to be true then it probably is. It boils down to the same old thing....greed! I feel badly for people who list there life savings. As for. Madoff, maybe he can offer investment advice to the other prisoners.

    March 24, 2009 at 6:44 am |
  2. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    Advice to Brenie...Don't pick up the soap! Hopefully he will suffer, just like his victims do. I have no mercy for someone like him and hope this takes that smirk right off his face!!

    March 24, 2009 at 3:06 am |
  3. Richard T.

    I think he should be put to work, figuring out a way to raise the money to pay back those who lost their savings.

    he's obviously smart enough to pull something like this off.

    he should be expected to meet each and every person he affected and find out how much they lost. then he should work to figure out how to repay them.

    March 23, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  4. Dick Weed

    Put Bernie in some country club environment where he can give investment advice to other felons. And parole him early so he can get back to work! Why keep a brilliant mind like his locked up?

    March 23, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  5. Sharon Kitchen


    March 23, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
  6. Tzedekh

    Here's a suggestion for Madoff: Learn to relax your rectal sphincter. If there's any justice, someone's going to do to you what you did to countless investors. Just close your eyes and think of England (or anywhere else you'd rather be).

    March 23, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  7. erin morrissey

    He should pay for all the trouble that he has caused to others. I am glad that he has been caught and needs to go away. He is a menace to society.

    March 23, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  8. LadyOTrout

    I say he gets "THE RACK" and it should be located right outside the Stock Exchange Building on Wall Street. He should rot there so others will be reminded when they, "go off to work" in the morning that what he did was just disgusting, maybe it may motivate some of those freewheeling types down there to get it together!

    March 23, 2009 at 11:57 am |
  9. JP

    find christ.

    March 23, 2009 at 11:54 am |
  10. Annie Kate

    Any level of prison is probably going to be a real hardship on Mr. Madoff as well it should. I'm not sure I think he will necessarily die in prison though – in the past few decades there have been too many notable prisoners allowed to die at home with their family caring for them rather than leaving them locked up under federal supervision. Kind of a coin toss on that one – it will be interesting to see if the court extends mercy if Madoff gets ill in prison with a terminal disease.

    March 23, 2009 at 11:37 am |
  11. George R

    The solution to the banking crisis is clear. Community banks are thriving, even new banks created within the last year are thriving. Help create more of these and unwind the behemoths ( monster mega institutions). “Too Big to Fail” (2B2F) is killing us. Modernize the laws and then enforce them. Laws without adequate policing and without adequate enforcement are an invitation for corruption.

    March 23, 2009 at 11:32 am |
  12. Lea Smith

    He should pay for his mistakes like others in Washington should. Also his family should pay for these mistakes because everyone knows they were involved. He DID NOT work alone!

    March 23, 2009 at 11:30 am |
  13. Michael "C" Lorton, VA

    Maddog has created havoc for the lives of many indidivuals-–he terminated many lives without drawing blood-–the damage is done---and no matter where he is serves his time--for many-it want changes what has happen. My best educated guess--he'll spend his remaining life in a miminum security prison-–

    March 23, 2009 at 11:27 am |
  14. Heather,ca

    In case anyone has forgotten there is a long line of people who would love for him to go to hell not to mention kill him for the obvious reasons. Maybe he is better off dead and maybe suicide is a better option that in the end saves money. Im just saying.

    March 23, 2009 at 11:25 am |
  15. Cindy

    I could care less where they place Madoff as long as it's not some low security place were he has free reign to do as he pleases. Hopefully he'll be put in a high security prison and will live a long life in solitary confinement in a 8×8 cell with rats, roaches and such. He should fit right in since he is the lowest of vermin!


    March 23, 2009 at 11:13 am |