What Jerry Sandusky can expect in Pa. prison

Associated Press Modified: October 7, 2012 at 6:01 pm •  Published: October 7, 2012
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State prison menus rotate monthly, and two of the three daily meals are hot. Exercise rules vary, but inmates generally spend an hour or more a day in the yard, which might entail walking, playing ball or lifting weights. If he's at a prison that allows baseball or softball, the bat has to be tethered and secured to the backstop. In the kitchen, knives also are tethered.

Inmates can buy a television with a 13-inch screen for their cells, at a cost of about $275, with prison-designed programming of about 15 channels that costs some $15 a month. The channels include the networks but no R-rated movies or shows with a lot of violence.

He'll be able to watch college football, including Penn State, when the games are broadcast on ESPN or another major network.

"A lot of guys live for it," said the man who works with released sex offenders. "Football season is huge."

Sandusky, a regular attendee at a Methodist church in State College, will be able to go to religious services.

There's also a shared television in the day room, a common area where inmates congregate when not confined to their cells. The guards usually decide what channel to have it on. Cards are popular, as are dominoes and board games.

If he has a musical bent, Sandusky will have a list of approved instruments to choose from for purchase.

Sandusky, who has a master's degree, will be encouraged to work, and most inmates do, although it's not technically mandatory. An inmate's first job is often in the kitchen or doing janitorial work, while more coveted occupations include maintenance, landscaping, clerical work or tutoring.

The pay barely covers the cable bill: 19 to 51 cents an hour, with a 30-hour work week. Some of that money may go to pay fines or costs, or toward the $10 copay for a doctor visit.

If people on the outside put money on his account, it also can be deducted to pay any fines and costs.

For those who can afford it, the commissary sells snacks, cigarettes and toiletries. He'll be able to have books and magazines sent to him inside prison, but if personal property starts to pile up, officials will direct him to box it up and send them home.

Most Pennsylvania prison cells are designed for two people, but it's possible he could end up in his own cell or in a small dormitory.

Visiting rules vary by institution, but all visits last at least an hour, and facilities generally allow two or three visits per week, with five to eight visitors allowed at once. Inmates can have up to 40 people on their visiting list.

There's another possibility for Sandusky, said Bill DiMascio, executive director of the prison society: They could swap him for an inmate in another state.

"They might even put him in a federal prison," DiMascio said. "They have some other options."

If Sandusky writes a book, state law will prevent him from making any money off of it.