Swindler Bernard Madoff will need to watch his back in prison, consultants and former inmates tell National Public Radio. Madoff, who was sentenced to 150 years in prison for masterminding the largest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history, will likely do no better than medium security and could even be assigned to a maximum-security facility if his safety is deemed to be at risk – and it may well be. “I don’t believe Bernie Madoff is going to give anybody any trouble in prison,” says Ed Bales, managing director for Federal Prison Consultants LLC. “But the fact is: What are those other inmates going to do? Is he going to get killed? That’s probably the No. 1 question.”
Wherever he goes will be based partly on a point system that will give him positive marks for his age (71), his college education, and the fact that he has no history of violence. But the sheer magnitude of his sentence would likely offset most or all of the items in the plus column. Marvin Ragland, a former inmate who served nine years for drug possession and trafficking, says white-collar criminals like Madoff are “the low man on the totem pole.” “Everybody hates those kind of guys,” he says. Ragland says the pecking order comes down to an unwritten prison code. “The greater the crime against society, the worse you are treated,” he says.