Lil Wayne Issue: How To Treat A Celebrity Inmate


Rapper Lil Wayne is expected to start a yearlong jail term today after pleading guilty in a New York City gun case, reports the Associated Press. He would be the latest celebrity inmate to test law enforcement officials’ ability to draw the line between providing special treatment and recognizing potential risks to high-profile convicts. ”It’s a challenge,” said Martin Horn, a former head of the New York City jail system, where Lil Wayne’s plea agreement calls for him to serve his sentence. ”It’s not about setting (a celebrity) on a bed of roses, but it is about an obligation to every inmate to keep him safe.”

Officials say they will find an appropriate place for him among the city’s roughly 13,000 inmates. Rapper Foxy Brown spent about eight months in 2007 and 2008 in city jails on a probation violation after pleading guilty to assault in a fracas at a nail salon. Because of threats against her, she was held largely in protective custody in a cell of her own, with access to a day room. Defense lawyer Stacey Richman intends to ask for protective custody for Lil Wayne, saying she was concerned for his health and safety. Prison consultant Herbert Hoelter, whose clients have included Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff and NFL quarterback Michael Vick, tells clients not to request anything special. Otherwise, ”you’ll be viewed by other inmates and the prison system as thinking that you’re ‘more deserving,”’ he says.

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