When it comes to a federal indictment, most people know that they will end up doing time. According to the BOP’s statistics, the average sentence is about 15 years unless you are part of that club that works for the system.
Prosecutors have agreed not to seek prison time for a guard charged with smuggling cigarettes into a federal prison in South Carolina as long as he pays back around $100,000. Of course, if he was an inmate, you can bet your bottom dollar he would have been looking at the time. The option to avoid prison would not have been available, especially for a legal payoff.
Court documents say Phillip Orlando Coleman will plead guilty to one count of public officials accepting a bribe. But that was not all that he did.
Prosecutors say Coleman smuggled cigarettes into the Edgefield Federal Correctional Institution for five months last year. Or at least that’s the amount of time that they know about. Who knows if it was just cigarettes. Typically when staff brings in contraband, it’s not limited to just one type. Since the goal is profit, their primary motivation tends to bring in whatever will make the most money.
Court documents didn’t say how much Coleman was paid for the contraband cigarettes, but he will be ordered to give up more than $102,000 and two rifles under the plea agreement. So let me get this straight: will he pay back what they estimated he made? From experience, I can tell you at the medium-security facility I was at, a phone went for 2,500 – $5,000. That said, while it was expensive, there were plenty of them. I remember seeing staff bring out of one unit, one time, a bag full of them; we are talking zip lock gallon size. And that was just one unit.
Fed Time, and COVID lockdowns; Who’s bringing stuff in when only the CO’s can walk free?
Everyone was locked down during the COVID lockdown, so nothing was coming in via visits or anything else. It was purely the staff that was bringing everything in. Typically, they like to blame contraband on inmates, but the reality is that guys like CO Phillip Coleman are pumping in the contraband and, in turn, busting people later on.
We have had numerous posts on this blog regarding the smuggling of contraband. Throughout history, we have seen that when this happens, and it’s inmates getting it in, typically, at the very least, it means losing all your good time, going to SHU, and getting moved to a higher security facility. No shock that when it comes to punishing those supposed to be enforcing the rules and laws, they catch a break. It should be the opposite.
Law enforcement or corrections officers who violate the law should get even more severe repercussions because, unlike your average criminal, those people are in a position of trust. The United States Criminal Justice system is plagued by corruption, though, and this is just yet another story on top of the mountains of stories that we have seen that illustrates this to the average person.
Sadly, staff at the federal prisons see this kind of thing and know that if they get caught 9 out of 10 times, they can blame it on the people they have responsibility for. Inmates and convicts alike are easy targets to blame for everything wrong because they cannot fight back. There is also an underlying premise that all criminals are liars. While I have met my fair share of liars in federal prison, I can also say that I have met some real men there who would rather die than have their words mean nothing or their reputation tarnished overlying.
In exchange, prosecutors said they would not seek prison time.