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Best Places to Go to Prison

Ever wonder what prison life is like for high-profile white-collar criminals like Bernie Madoff, or how Martha Stewart got through her time in prison?

The prison experience all depends on where you wind up, according to Alan Ellis,a criminal defense attorney and co-author the “Federal Prison Guidebook.” Ellis, who specializes in defending federal white-collar criminals, has made a career of bargaining to get his clients the lowest possible sentences and get them into the best prisons possible.

The worst federal criminals wind up behind bars in U.S. penitentiaries. But there are also medium-, low-, and minimum-security prisons. Of those minimum-security facilities, known as federal prison camps, some are adjacent to higher-security prisons and others stand alone. It’s the stand-alone ones that Ellis believes are most preferable.

“The staff is less stressed out,” he said. “As I like to say, happy staff makes happy inmates.”

Federal prison camps also have limited or no fencing, and “zero” violence. Ellis cautioned, however, that these are no country-club — or “Club Fed” — facilities. The inmates are still in prison and away from their loved ones.

It’s not just the camp accommodations that made Ellis’ list. For the low- to medium-security inmate, there are choice assignments, as well.

So where are the best places to do time? Click ahead to see the names Ellis believes should be on every federal inmate’s wish-list, in no particular order.

—Prisoner data as of Jan. 12, 2012, unless otherwise noted.

By Michelle Fox
Posted 19 January 2012

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Sources: “Federal Prison Guidebook” and the Federal Bureau of Prisons || Photo: Darrin Klimek | Digital Vision | Getty Images