Action News 5 Special Report: Club Fed - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Janice Broach

Action News 5 Special Report: Club Fed

Make no mistake about it - the place where John Ford will soon call home is nothing like where he's coming from.  But then again, it's not exactly the clink!

Monday, Ford will check into the federal prison camp in Pollock, Louisiana.  If you didn't know where to look for it, you'd miss it.

The prison, located in a place some would call "in the middle of nowhere," is surrounded by trees, and looks more like a summer camp.  Amenities there include a soccer field, and prisoners stay in dormitories.

The prison has no fences, allowing inmates to roam where they wan to, and some of the interior walls are covered by rainbow murals.

Jerome Scott, the mayor of Pollock, is happy to have the prison nearby.

"I love having the federal bureau of prisons in Pollock," he said in a recent interview.

According to Scott, prisoners have done a lot for his town.  He and his staff have even been known to eat at the prison camp.

"Sausage, grits, pancakes, french toast, eggs..."now I don't now if that's what they eat or not!" Scott said.

But the inmates do cook the food.  Aside from odd jobs around the prison, most inmates spend their time watching television or movies, and sleeping.  Most say it is a stress-free environment.

About an hour away from Pollack is the federal prison camp in Oakdale, where former Tennessee State Senator Roscoe Dixon is serving his prison sentence.

There, the grounds are green, and the landscaping is well-kept.  Past the parking lot are several dormitory-style buildings, and again...no fences.  Outside the prison, inmates could be seen playing basketball.

You won't find fences with razor-wire at any of the federal prison camps where local officials are serving time.  A former federal inmate told Action News 5 that few inmates are tempted to walk off, because if they do, they will end up in a maximum security prison.

Recently, Forbes magazine listed the best places to go to prison, ranking lock-ups by their amenities.  The federal prison camp in Montgomery, where Rickey Peete and Michael Hooks, Sr. are currently serving time, ranked in the top 10.

Officials at the prison teach corporate criminals there to be cooks, housekeepers, paralegals and painters, in case they want to make a career change when they get out.

Back in Pollok, Mayor Scott said he wouldn't call John Ford's new home "Club Fed," but said it is a pretty pen.

"I suppose as far as prisons go, it's a very nice looking place," he said.

Inmates say the worst thing about federal prison is boredom.  John Ford said he is not worried about it.


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