Lea Fastow, former Enron executive, was planning to move into a 12,000-square-foot house. Instead, on July 12, she enters Houston’s austere, high-rise federal detention center, says the New York Times. A closet-size cell will be her home while she serves a one-year sentence for tax evasion. Her husband, Andrew Fastow, could serve up to 10 years for concealing Enron’s debt and inflating its profits while making millions for himself.
Mrs. Fastow, 42, is likely to find that the mixed-sex, highly secure detention center will be anything but the kind of prison camp that many people still associate with white-collar criminals. Former convicts say her time will be more difficult because she is a woman, white,and wealthy. “Let’s be honest: jails are racist, sexist and homophobic places,” said Ray Hill, who served eight years for burglary and is now a consultant to people facing time behind bars. He hosts “The Prison Show,” a call-in radio program for inmates and their families in southeast Texas. Mrs. Fastow will be locked in her cell at night, fed Army-style rations, and rarely permitted to see sunlight. She would have far more freedom of movement at a prison camp, but a judge refused to send her to one. Perhaps the worst loss of privacy will come at night, when she must use the toilet under the gaze of her cellmate. “It’s really hard to get used to going in front of someone but after lockdown, you can’t ask them to step outside or anything,” said a former inmate.