Former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle’s life is about to take a radical turn, and according to one prison expert, that turn will be very unpleasant.
Fogle appeared in federal court in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Wednesday and agreed to plead guilty to distribution and receipt of child pornography and unlawful sex acts with minors. Hollywood jail consultant Larry Levine says Fogle’s guilty plea will make him a “marked” man behind bars.
“He is going be a marked person while he’s in there. He is going to be treated as an outcast,” Levine told TheWrap. “The people that are hated in prison are rats and snitches No. 1, and the other ones are rapists and child molesters.”
Levine would know. He was a troubleshooter and efficiency expert for organized crime and has done time in 11 different federal correctional institutions. After leaving his life of crime behind, Levine started Wall Street Prison Consultants and now advises jail-bound clients on how to survive behind bars. He even consulted on the CBS drama “The Good Wife” and the Will Ferrell-Kevin Hart comedy “Get Hard.”
The convict-turned-consultant warned that Fogle likely will be branded a “chomo” — prison slang for a child molester — the second he walks through prison doors. “Nobody wants to have that jacket on them, the chomo jacket,” he said.
Court documents released Wednesday show that Fogle agreed to a sentence of no less than five years, while prosecutors agreed not to seek a sentence of more than 12 and a half years, although they could have asked for much more time.
Stanley L. Friedman, a former federal prosecutor who now does criminal defense work, told TheWrap that that window represents “a very favorable deal” for Fogle, noting that it’s not unusual for a defendant in Fogle’s position to “be facing a sentence in excess of 10 years.”
Federal judges have wide discretion in sentencing and Fogle could get more than 12 and a half years. But as Friedman noted, several factors could work in Fogle’s favor, such as the fact that he’s agreed to pay $1.4 million in restitution, to be divided among 14 minor victims.
“It’s very common for people to be ordered to pay restitution, but they don’t pay it, so if somebody’s paying it upfront, I think the court will very favorably consider that,” Friedman said.
Fogle’s attorney Jeremy D. Margolis told reporters Wednesday that a plea hearing has not yet been scheduled. For now, Fogle is on home detention with GPS monitoring.
According to Friedman, Fogle’s legal team has an opportunity to make the case for leniency. The court could look favorably on what Fogle has suffered since the sandwich chain cut ties with its spokesman after 15 years in terms of lost income, lost contracts and damaged reputation.
Fogle’s attorney will also likely commission a report from a private psychologist, Friedman said. If the report determines that Fogle is unlikely to recidivate, or repeat his wrongdoings in the future, that too could help him come sentencing time.
“The defense lawyer would be asking for five [years],” Friedman estimated.
Even if he is sentenced to just five years, Levine said Fogle’s fame will make those years difficult. “Everybody is gonna know that Jared the chomo is here and he’s gonna get his footlong every day,” Levine explained in raw prison parlance.
The prison consultant expects that Fogle will be sent to one of three low-security federal correctional institutions that offer counseling to sex offenders: in Seagoville, Texas, Englewood, Colorado, or Elkton, Ohio. But Levine warned that the Subway spokesman is unlikely to find much protection from prison guards. “The cops aren’t everywhere,” he explained.
Worse, Levine said that prison authorities have even been known to provoke attacks on sex offenders. “When I was in custody, it was the staff that would tell the other inmates who the child molester inmates were because the staff didn’t like them either,” he said. “The staff would want to beat them up, but they can’t beat them up. They’d tell the inmates, so the inmates could beat them up. It’s a crazy thing.”