Trump behind bars would be a ‘nightmare’ for him and his country

There’s no guarantee Donald Trump will end up behind bars, but with his felony conviction Thursday while still facing three separate indictments, the once-distant possibility of a former U.S. president being incarcerated is moving closer to reality .

This prompted a common question: How would Trump be held in prison and what would his life be like behind bars?

Prison consultant Sam Mangel, who counts Trump’s incarcerated friend Peter Navarro as a client, told The Daily Beast on Friday that an imprisoned Trump would be a “nightmare” for the country and the prison system, but would be particularly hellish for the ‘attention. longing for former president.

If sentenced to prison for his New York conviction, Mangel said Trump and his U.S. Secret Service would have to be crammed into an already overcrowded New York facility that is sure to have a media circus outside its doors and dozens of press helicopters hovering over his head.

“Logistically, it would be a nightmare,” he said. “So when I hear in interviews that the New York Department of Corrections took care of everything, that to me is a statement made out of ego.”

That headache would be just the start of problems for corrections officials, Mangel said. Guards and administrators would have to walk a tightrope to put in place special protections to keep Trump safe — and avoid a public relations disaster if he were harmed by a fellow inmate — while trying to maintain the appearance that he receives the same treatment as the others. prisoner.

It is important to treat Trump the same as other inmates to prevent other prisoners from becoming angry at any perceived special treatment — anger that, in the worst case scenario, could lead to violence.

Because Trump’s charges of falsifying business records are considered white-collar, Mangel said he would be placed in a low-security facility that is largely empty of people recently convicted of violent crimes. He added that Trump’s team would likely advocate that he be housed alongside older inmates, a request that would surely be granted.

Trump probably wouldn’t navigate prison gangs and avoid sketchy characters like in the movies, but life as he’s known it for decades would be upended, Mangel said.

Mangel, who himself was imprisoned as recently as 2020 for financial crimes, said Trump’s days in prison would be nearly identical: woken up by an alarm every morning, followed by him standing at his bed while a role call is taken.

“When you’re in prison, I don’t care who you are, you’re a number,” Mangel said. “You are told when to get up, when to eat, when to go to bed. And it’s humiliating, it’s degrading.

Mangel said guards tend not to care about a person’s “importance, fame or notoriety” on the outside: everyone on the inside is treated more or less the same. same way.

“Inside, you get up at six in the morning, you go to eat your meals as you have been told, you have the same telephone time, the same lights off at four in the afternoon, you have to stand next to your bed to count,” he said. “So it’s a humiliating situation. And especially for someone like the former president.

Trump has already shown that he doesn’t appreciate anyone telling him what to do. But getting an order in a prison yard — and having a prison job, he would have to take one — wouldn’t be the worst for Trump, Mangel predicts. It would be his lack of information and the absence of an audience.

Gone would be the days when Trump could tweet freely — or post on Truth Social — the second a thought came to his mind. Instead, Mangel said Trump’s communication would be limited to supervised visits during the day, emails without attachments and limited in character that take more than an hour to send, and phone calls that are often limited to just 15 minutes each day.

It’s this loss of touch with society that drives Mangel’s most high-profile clients crazy, he said, and Trump, as a 77-year-old billionaire, would probably be no different. Mangel said his clients often contact him to find ways to spend more time on the phone, but their requests are often denied.

“Other customers have asked me, ‘Can you please give me more minutes?’ I need more minutes,” Mangel said. “There’s a sense of entitlement and a sense of, ‘Do you know who I am? »

“It doesn’t matter whether you are a leader or a politician. It doesn’t matter if you’re used to unlimited phone access… You’re president. Why should you have more than the next guy?

Mangel said he hopes Trump isn’t sent to prison, but not for political reasons. He said he feared that a locked-up Trump — and the flaws in the U.S. prison system exposed under the media microscope — would be a stain on the country itself, and that authorities should explore the possibility that he could be sentenced to be incarcerated in a military establishment. basis if it needs to be sent somewhere.

On one basis, Mangel said his safety could be assured, complete privacy could be achieved, and New York’s overcrowded prisons would not be overburdened with housing perhaps the most high-profile criminal of the 21st century.

“If he’s going to be incarcerated,” Mangel said, “there are places that can handle him more appropriately and in a more professional and more protected way than a bureau of prisons or department of corrections. “

Trump could face up to four years in prison in New York for his conviction Thursday. Records show, however, that criminals convicted of Class E felonies, the lowest level in New York, are often not sentenced to spend time behind bars if it is their first conviction. Instead, they are often fined and placed on probation – which could also be a real headache for Trump.

Trump will learn his fate at a sentencing hearing scheduled for July 11, just days before the Republican National Convention. Judge Juan Merchan will be the one to decide Trump’s sentence.

The ex-president’s legal team was given 30 days from Thursday to file a notice of appeal and six months to file the full appeal of the conviction, which it is expected to do.

In the meantime, Mangel said he is working behind the scenes with those in Trump’s orbit to prepare them for possible prison time. He declined to say exactly who he worked with, but, with his friend Navarro already on his client list, he said he would be “glad” to advise Trump on what to expect in detention “if ever had to happen.” that.” After all, he said he was based just 20 minutes from Trump’s estate in Mar-a-Lago, Florida.

“I don’t do politics,” Mangel said. “I just think everyone deserves as much information as possible to survive the worst experience of their life… other than death.”

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