Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich arrived at a federal prison in Colorado this morning, where he will begin serving a 14 year prison senetence for corruption.
Life on the inside will be a big change for Blago, and former Missouri State Senator Jeff Smith wants to help ease his transition. Smith, who served a year in federal prison for obstruction of justice, compiled a list of 12 prison tips for Blagojevich in the Chicago Tribune. Smith’s most entertaining advice is reproduced below:
2. Embrace your background, but don’t try to be a politician.
•You will have a nickname. It will probably be “Governor.” Accept that, but do so with deep humility.
• As a politician you were known for your gregariousness. But prison isn’t the Loop; not everyone wants to shake your hand. In fact, because of a collective obsession with hygiene and a fear of illness, no one in prison shakes hands — they bump fists. That doesn’t mean you should stroll down the compound fist-bumping dudes on your first day. As a hoops announcer might advise a star player in a big game, don’t press too hard; let the game come to you.
9. Don’t snitch, under any circumstances.
•The only people in prison who have it harder than child molesters are snitches. You need to learn how to see things (weapons, illegal drugs, people making hooch, pornography, etc) without seeing them; that is, learn to look away before anyone has seen you see the contraband.
11. Don’t look for trouble.
•Don’t change the TV channel, especially if women’s track is on, or “Ice Loves Coco.” There is an inscrutable yet stringent seniority-based regime when it comes to TV watching, and your celebrity does not entitle you to alter it in any way.
12 Don’t eat the Snickers.
• You’ll go through orientation. You will be shown a mandatory sexual assault prevention video featuring a guy warning you not to eat the Snickers bar that may be waiting for you on your bed in your cell. (The actor ate the one left under his pillow, unwittingly signaling the predator who left it for him that he was ready and willing.) All the guys watching the video will laugh. But take the video’s message to heart: Don’t accept sweets from anyone.
If Blagojevich wants more advice from politicians who have served time, it shouldn’t be hard for him to find; over the past 100 years, a stunning 20 percent of Illinois governors have been indicted or convicted of a felony.