That’s it! Rod Blagojevich has reported to Federal Prison to serve his 14 year term. Yes- 14 years! The sentence seems as absurd as Blago himself. As a prison coach and criminal justice expert I see all kinds of cases and people. Really, I have seen it all and then there is Blago. Now he will be known by his infamous last name and hi inmate number. What did he do last night? He probably watched American Idol like everybody else did! I am sure we will be getting Blago updates but he will fade from view as the rest of the infamous unmates do.
To keep the 14 years in perspective we must remember that Blagojevich had many bites at the apple. His first trial ended in only one conviction and he could have accepted responsibility and cut a sweet deal at that point. But, no- Blago had to prove he was innocent, the wiretaps were fakes and he was destined to be a reality star and media darling. Vintage client profile of mine and somebody who is grandiose, narcissistic and full of entitlement. Remember the 8 patterns of criminal thinking I have written about??? There are 3 right there.
The reason Blago received the 14 years is that his case has cost the rest of us millions of dollars to prosecute and DEFEND. Yes, defend. After the first trial, Blagojevich claimed he could no longer afford his defense and so as with any defendant, some of his legal bills were picked up by the same government trying to put him in prison. Now it will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep him in prison.
And, we have not even talked about the most important part of this case. The VICTIMS- aka the wife and daughters of Rob Blagojevich. Families are the forgotten consequences of crime. We have seen very little of Patti Blagojevich except when she took her husband’s place on the reality show “I’m a Celebrity Get me Out of Here” and in a few recent interviews. We have also heard nothing about the children and the fact that they will now grow up without their father and with the stigma and shame he has left them. This is the sad part of the story and makes one wonder why Blago didn’t think of this. I understand that when he was on his crime spree of calls, the family got lost in the mess of his mind. I have been there. But, when the jig was up and he had the opportunity to accept his role and do a small prison stunt he just could not do it. Not even for his family.
It seems that even now Rod Blagojevich will not go away quietly. He will have one last press conference. Sorry Rod- no more reality shows, no more memoir, no more talk shows just inmate number 40892-424 and a lot of time to grow up. Even for you change is possible.
As for Patti Balgojevich and her girls. They need lots of support and professional therapy. They also need to be involved in their community and show that it was not them who committed the crime and that they are going to learn and grow from this experience. This can be done and even while they stand by Rod and support him. After all, sometimes prison can be a transformative experience and maybe they will become closer in a more authentic way.
Wendy Feldman is a prison consultant and criminal justice expert. She is available as a media commentator and for private clients and speaking events. To contact Wendy visit www.custodialcoaching.com or email Wendy@custodialcoaching.com