The judge who presided over Elizabeth Holmes’ fraud trial and sentenced her last week to more than 11 years in prison has recommended that the former Theranos CEO serve time in a Texas federal prison camp low security.
The recommendation for Holmes’s incarceration at FPC Bryan, a facility located about 100 miles northwest of Houston that houses only female inmates, arrived in court Wednesday. In addition to offering minimal security, the prison offers frequent family visits, college-level education, and requires inmates to participate in work programs.
Keri Axel, a criminal defense attorney, said nonviolent criminals, like Holmes, are often offered the opportunity to serve out their time in one of the federal government’s lowest-level security facilities like FBC Bryan.
“Sometimes they’re called ‘Camp Fed’ because they have a little more amenities and they’re a little nicer places,” he said, likening the facilities to more well-protected prisons. However, “they are not fantastic places. No one wants to be there.”
Judge Edward Davila, who decided on Holmes’s sentencing, said in the filing that his recommendation is based on the recommendation of Holmes’ probation officer. In delivering her sentence on Friday, Davila parted with her probation officer’s recommendation that Holmes instead serve nine years in prison.
Davilia noted that FPC’s more lenient visitation policy could benefit Holmes. Holmes is currently pregnant with her second child and she is expected to give birth before reporting to prison.
“The Court finds that family visits improve rehabilitation,” Davilia wrote in the court’s application. The FPC also offers inmates access to counseling designed to improve their relationship with their children while incarcerated.
The 37-acre Bryan, Texas Prison assigns each inmate to one of its own separate housing units in self-contained housing areas. Inmates are responsible for keeping their rooms clean by making their beds every day, sweeping and mopping the room floor, and taking out the trash.
Detainees are limited by the amount of personal items they can keep in their possession and must wear government-provided clothing until the last 30 days of detention. In most cases, the facility’s rules state, an inmate may keep photographs, particularly of family and friends, in her possession “because they represent significant ties to the community.”
The general wake-up call for all inmates is 6:00
“It is the inmate’s responsibility to leave the unit for meals and work,” FBC Bryan’s rules state. “Sleepyheads who are unable to keep rooms or get to work on time are subject to disciplinary action.”
Holmes was ordered to report to federal prison on April 27, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. She would have to file an appeal, which could come with a request to remain free while her appeal is held in the 9th Court of Appeals. An appeal must be filed within two weeks of Holmes’ Nov. 18 ruling.
George Demos, former US Securities and Exchange Commission attorney, says there’s “no doubt” the lapsed Silicon Valley superstar will appeal. Only after that request—along with her request to remain free during her penance—will it be clear whether she will begin serving the sentence issued by Davila.
“So whether or not he will show up for jail on April 27 remains to be seen,” Demos said.
Provisions within federal sentencing guidelines include the possibility of early release based on good behavior. Still, most federal offenders serve the majority of their sentences. “I would suspect he would serve a substantial portion,” Demos said.
Agustin Orozco, a criminal defense attorney at Crowell & Moring, told Yahoo Finance that to reach Holmes’ conviction, Davila needed to weigh a number of factors, including the seriousness of Holmes’ offense and determine future criminal conduct. .
“With a highly publicized case, like the one with Elizabeth Holmes, as defense attorney, you always worry that the judge will issue a higher sentence than necessary because the judge wants to make sure they discourage similar behavior,” Orozco said. “Eventually, the judge… issued a significant ruling to determine similar behavior by others.
Alexis Keenan is a legal reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow Alexis on Twitter @alexiskweed.
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