Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bernie's Stretch

Based on personal experience, Mansfield Frazier has some interesting ideas on how Bernie Madoff will fare in prison.

To a large degree, the elderly are venerated in prison. The stories you hear about elder abuse in nursing homes are simply not part of American prison culture. The 70-year-old Madoff will have age on his side.

The nature of Madoff’s alleged crimes will help him as well......Why? Because he screwed the type of people whom his future prisonmates feel they’ve been screwed by all their lives.

But perhaps most importantly for Madoff, in an environment such as prison, a dignified bearing is cherished by young men who’ve never encountered anyone who possessed one. All Madoff has to do is project the caring image of a father figure, like Charlie Manson did with his followers. We have young people in America who are so starved for any kind of attention that they’ll literally lay down their lives for a manipulator who offers them a few kind words.

Not that it'll be a vacation.

The mere fact of having every door locked, with someone telling you when to come, go, eat and shit, is traumatizing. But even stripped of Rolex watches and $6,000 Brioni suits, a prisoner like Madoff can thrive as much as circumstances will allow.