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Inside Todd Chrisley’s cozy federal prison in Florida

Reality TV star Todd Chrisley reported to federal prison Tuesday to begin his 12-year sentence — and he couldn’t have asked for a better place to serve it.

FPC Pensacola, a minimum-security facility in Pensacola, Florida, has been named one of the “friendliest” in America.

The facility, which opened in 1988, is typically reserved for crimes involving wire fraud, mail fraud and health care fraud.

Prominent defense counsel, Allan Ellis, described the prison as “quite a relaxed experience” and more like a “camp”.

Former U.S. Representative Chris Collins, who served in New York’s 27th Congressional District from 2013 until his resignation in 2019, was sentenced to 26 months in prison for insider trading and making false statements to the FBI, which began on October 13, 2020. (Collins was pardoned by Donald Trump on December 22, 2020, in the final month of his presidency.)

“If I had to do my time, that’s one of the places I’d want to be assigned,” Ellis, who publishes the “Federal Prison Guide” each year, told the Buffalo News of Collins being sentenced there. “These federal prison camps are much better places to stay than other federal prisons.

Former U.S. Rep. Chris Collins arrives in federal court for his sentencing Friday, Jan. 17, 2020.
Trump ally and former US representative Chris Collins has been prosecuted for insider trading.
AP/Seth Wenig

The prison’s strengths include inmates being able to play racquetball, volleyball and horseshoes. They can even get together in the prison theater for a movie night.

“It has all the dumbbells and bars you can imagine,” added Tim Donaghy, a former NBA referee who pleaded guilty to two gambling-related charges — also describing the prison as “clean and safe.”

Many of the inmates are either criminals or drug addicts serving long sentences after being transferred to Pensacola for good behavior.

FPC Pensacola also offers educational opportunities, vocational training and shared television rooms for inmates.
FPC Pensacola also offers educational opportunities, vocational training and shared television rooms for inmates.

“I don’t understand why you’re using tax dollars to do that, to pay all those security guards, pay all those doctors and nurses and all those people that are there, when you can actually put these people under house arrest,” Donaghy said.

Meanwhile, a 2016 ex-prisoner’s blog detailed his time in prison as “enjoyable”.

Kenneth Flaska, a former attorney, spent more than 5 years in an institution for bank fraud.

He detailed his mornings — which consisted of making coffee, watching CNN, reading, playing Sudoku and being able to talk to his wife every day. He could also check his email regularly and exercise.

Meals consisted of hot dogs and pasta with red sauce and garlic bread, which Flaska called “not bad by prison standards.”

Flaska added that the lights come on at 4:45 a.m. to accommodate those who work at Eglin Air Force Base – a bus picks them up where they will then do landscaping or other jobs.

Chrisley, of “Chrisley Knows Best,” was found guilty along with his wife, Julie, of federal charges of bank fraud and tax evasion, as well as submitting false documents to banks to obtain loans and finance their lavish lifestyles.

Meanwhile, Julie is serving a 7-year prison sentence at FMC Leckington, Kentucky, which is described as “an administrative security federal medical center with an adjacent minimum security satellite camp.”

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