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Vick moves to Kansas prison camp

POSTED: January 20, 2008 5:04 a.m.

Multimillionaire Michael Vick — once the No. 1 overall draft pick in the NFL — is now inmate No. 33765-183 assigned to the federal prison camp in Leavenworth, Kan.

The disgraced Atlanta Falcons quarterback arrived Monday afternoon to continue serving a 23-month sentence for his role in a dogfighting ring. His attorneys said he would participate in the prison’s drug treatment program, which could reduce his sentence.

Vick was expected to wake up Tuesday in the dormitory-style minimum-security federal prison camp at Leavenworth surrounded by about 440 other inmates, most of whom are drug offenders.

NFL player or not, he’ll receive "no special privileges. All inmates are treated equally," said U.S. Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman Traci Billingsley.

But Vick’s stay will be more comfortable than if he were assigned to the adjacent U.S. penitentiary at Leavenworth, which houses medium-security inmates and was once considered the most feared prison in the American criminal justice system.

Bureau of Prisons officials would not discuss why Leavenworth was chosen for Vick’s incarceration.

"There are a lot of factors that go into the destination process that we don’t make publicly available," Billingsley said.

Aside from media reports, Billingsley said she didn’t believe the Leavenworth inmates were informed Vick would be bunking there until he arrived Monday.

The camp offers an intense drug treatment program that could eventually help Vick, who recently failed a drug test, to leave prison early.

Billingsley said Vick’s typical day would not be unlike the majority of camp inmates who work about 7.5 hours a day. Jobs vary and include working in the cafeteria and on the lawn crew. Wages are 12 to 40 cents an hour.

The rest of Vick’s time could be spent in various forms, Billingsley said, such as studying in the library, watching television or participating in religious programs.

Prison camps offer outdoor and indoor recreation programs that typically range from basketball games to individual exercise equipment. Billingsley said contact sports, including tackle football, were strictly forbidden. However, some facilities offer flag football.

Likewise, any programs involving animals are tightly controlled. Inmates are screened, and Vick would not be eligible.

When asked if the prison had readied any extra security because of the anger Vick’s actions have sparked, Billingsley said the facility reviewed every case to determine what was appropriate and necessary.

Wichita State University professor Paul Cromwell said Vick’s dog conviction may earn him enemies almost immediately.

But he’s also likely to earn attention for his celebrity stature and athleticism.

"He’s still going to be, I think, looked up to by the young inmates. In some cases, he may even have some respect from the professional staff," Cromwell said.

Other well-known inmates have served time in Leavenworth. They include Robert Stroud, later known as the "Birdman of Alcatraz"; men convicted in the first World Trade Center bombing; and American Indian Movement leader Leonard Peltier.

Around Leavenworth, the news of Vick’s arrival wasn’t expected to faze many residents, according to Charlie Gregor, executive vice president of the local chamber of commerce:

"I doubt if news of his arrival here will even lead to a stifled yawn. We’ve had a lot of VIPs, so called, people who have some national notoriety here before. Nobody cares. I mean, really, they don’t


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