Everyday people ask me what life will be like in State Prison for Jodie Arias. People are especially interested in the quality of her life. To be sure, her life will not be all snacks and fun, but it is not that bad either. And, if she is sent to death row it may be even better. There are only two women on death row in Arizona. Both are at Perryville State Prison where Arias will eventually end up no matter if she receives life or death. She will DIE there.
But life inside a maximum-security prison is not all hard times and labor. In fact, some prefer the maximum section of the prison. It is here that one is allowed their own TV and sometimes Internet. No mass TV room, no waiting but no privacy from the guards either. It really is life in a fishbowl. But, for a narcissist like Arias, this will suit her perfectly.
Jodie Arias says she wants to accomplish many things while in prison. While this may seem unfair to many people, the truth is that she may be able to do. The alternative is that we keep paying for her and others to do nothing. Arias however will not be allowed to come and go as she pleases and her ability to exercise of the “yard” will be very limited if at all. This as she has been convicted of first-degree murder.
But, let’s not forget that Arias has been held in the infamous Maricopa county jail headed by none other than master criminal himself Sheriff Joe Arpaio. A true case of birds of a feather. For those in a rush to have Arias sent to State Prison at Perryville, stop and consider that Sheriff Joe runs the WORST county jail in the United States and conditions are horrific. They even have a section known as “tent city” where inmates live in tents outside in the Arizona heat. I would prefer Arias stay there but once formally sentenced she will move to the more plush Perryville in Phoenix.
I have worked with many women who have been and are at Perryville and the treatment depends on the crime, the time and the behavior. Do not expect it to be easy for Jodie Arias but it certainly will not be hard time. And yes, she can order all kinds of snacks from the commissary. Is this rehabilitation? Nope, but a life sentence is not designed for that. I for one am closing the Arias chapter and turning my attention to those who need to rehabilitate and their families. Never forget that over 95% of all people incarcerated in the US are coming out and most in less than 5 years. We must learn to deal with this population now.
Wendy Feldman is a criminal justice expert, crisis manager and family legal coach. She is available for private consultation on how to prepare for a successful incarceration, probation and re-entry. She is also available for media commentary and has appeared on shows from The Today Show, The CBS Early Show, E! News, People.com, Fox News, NBC News, CNN, NPR and Nancy Grace. She is a weekly featured guest on the syndicated America Now radio program. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org