The belief that a white collar conviction means serving “easy time” in a comfortable, minimum-security institution is a myth. Many people convicted of a white-collar crime are placed in minimum-security institutions, but there is no guarantee that this will happen. Correctional authorities, such as the Federal Bureau of Prisons, have scoring criteria that determine what level facility a defendant will be housed.
Just like maximum-security prisons, low-security federal prisons subject inmates to a strict routine. It’s not uncommon for inmates to be awakened routinely through the night and the day starts early, at 6:00am. Inmates typically have 90 minutes to shower, dress and report to work–prison jobs pay about $1.00 an hour. Inmates can save their money to buy snacks and drinks from the prison commissary. Personal items, including televisions and radios may also be available for purchase.
The most difficult thing about prison is the complete loss of freedom. Each day—even weekends and holidays—follows the same strict routine and inmates must ask for permission from the guards before doing even the smallest task. Family visits are strictly limited, as are phone calls home.