Sandusky Sentencing Set Tuesday; What’s Awaiting Him Behind Bars?
HARRISBURG, Pa. – Jerry Sandusky will walk into state prison with little more than a watch and wedding band. He’ll be able to work a 30-hour week to make a few dollars. He’ll be able to watch Penn State football, but not violent movies.
If the former Penn State defensive coach is sentenced Tuesday to a long state prison term, he will find himself far removed from the comfortable suburban life he once led, placed under the many rules and regulations of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.
Even Sandusky’s own attorney believes that whatever sentence he gets, at age 68 Sandusky will likely live out his days inside a state prison. Prison officials, written policies and former offenders provided a detailed look to The Associated Press about the regimented life behind bars that Sandusky faces.
Sandusky has been housed in isolation inside the Centre County Correctional Facility in Bellefonte since his conviction in June on 45 counts of child sexual abuse, and has spent his days reading and writing, preparing a statement for sentencing, and working out twice a day, defense attorney Joe Amendola said.
“Jerry is a very likable guy – he gets along with everybody,” Amendola said last week, as he worked with Sandusky to help get his affairs in order, including a power of attorney and updated will. “He’s a model inmate. He doesn’t cause problems, he’s sociable, he’s pleasant.”
Assuming Judge John Cleland gives him at least two years – the minimum threshold for a state prison sentence – Sandusky’s first stop will be the Camp Hill state prison near Harrisburg, where all male inmates undergo a couple weeks of testing to determine such things as mental and physical health, education level and any treatment needs.
Prison officials will assign him a security level risk and decide which “home prison” to send him to.
Although Sandusky’s home in the Lemont area of State College is only a couple miles from Rockview state prison, there is no way to predict where he will end up.
Older inmates sometimes end up at Laurel Highlands, which can better treat more severe medical problems, or Waymart, a comparatively lower-security prison in the state’s northeastern corner.
The roughly 6,800 sex offenders are scattered throughout the prison system, which has no special units for them. Treatment is available for sex offenders, and those who hope to be paroled have to participate.
“My guess is he’ll wind up in a minimum-security facility, and probably a facility for nonviolent people,” Amendola said.