It has been reported in the news that former New York political power man Sheldon Silver, who was just sentenced to 12 years in jail for political corruption, has requested that the judge send him to Otisville. The New York Post reports that Silver wants to go to “cushy” Otisville which features “politely organized town hall meetings in which prisoners and staff hash out issues” and offers “quiet time between 10PM and 6 AM.”
After having spent 18 months in Otisville, I can attest that guys generally sleep between 10 PM and 6 AM in their bunk beds. If you are sleeping in a bunk during these hours things are more quiet than the FDR drive, but certainly not as quiet as if you were sleeping in a normal bedroom. First off, you are sleeping a couple of feet from another guy who is sleeping in the lower bunk, and another guy who is a couple of feet to the side of you in an adjoining cubicle. If these guys snore at night you have to keep banging their bunks to get them to stop. Some guys have sleep apnea machines, which can make some noise. Other guys move around in their bunk in their sleep, causing the entire bunk to shake. Other guys talk in their sleep. Some bunks are located next to the noisy washing machines. Guys are not supposed to use the washing machines after 10PM, but sometimes violate that rule. Some bunks are located near the common areas, so the lights are always shining into the sleeping area, and you can hear guys yelling or the television from your bunk. Some bunks are located near the bathrooms, so guys going in and out of the bathrooms make noise. The writers from the New York Post should spend a few hours of “quiet time” in Otisville before they write about it.
As far as the “politely organized town hall meetings,” it is true the head of the camp and the warden organize meetings with all the inmates. The purpose of the meetings are to advise the inmates that if they don’t do such and such or refrain from doing such and such, they will be locked up in the SHU (solitary confinement). Stop blowing your nose in the sink, or you are going to the SHU! Stop smoking behind the gym or I am going to send you to the SHU! Clear off the tables in the dining hall at night or the tables will be removed! Stop using the kitchen at night or it will be shut down! Stop changing the temperature on the AC or it will be removed! Sometimes the Head Blueboy in Charge (HBBIC) of the Camp will single out a guy. At one such town hall meeting the HBBIC said, “Noodles, stop chopping garlic on the outside picnic table, or you are going to the SHU” I never made it into the SHU, but I came close a few times.
If Sheldon Silver ends up in Otisville he will get to reunite with Brooklyn political powerbroker Carl Kruger, who is doing 7 years for kickbacks and bribes. I was locked up with Kruger. He reminded me of Don Rickles. He has an interesting life story. His mother was married briefly and adopted a daughter. The father was an abusive alcoholic and died young. The mother then shacked up with a wealthy real estate developer and got pregnant with Kruger. Being an unwed single mom in those days was not too kosher so she tried to give Kruger up for adoption. She gave him to a doctor for adoption. The doctor didn’t want him and tried to pass him off to a family in Long Island. The Long Island family didn’t want baby Kruger and returned Kruger back to the doctor, who sent Kruger back to his mom. Kruger’s mom had to fight to get $15.00 a week in child support from the wealthy real estate guy who knocked her up. The guy was so cheap his brothers ended up paying the $15.00 a week. Kruger’s sister took care of him, but she turned out to be an alcoholic, and couldn’t take care of herself. Kruger’s mom had health problems. Kruger, in his 20s, watched his mother suffer for almost two years in the hospital before she died in his arms. Kruger then befriended a woman named Dottie, who had two sons, who both became doctors. Dottie’s ex-husband was an abusive alcoholic. By some miracle Kruger was able to overcome all these obstacles and become successful in politics.
Kruger also was helpful in building up Dotti’s son’s medical practice. He and Dotti sent out 150,000 letters announcing the opening of Michael Turano’s medical clinic, before the age of computers. But he was stupid and took kickbacks. He got Michael involved, who also ended up doing some jail time. Not much in kickbacks. Around $500K in bribes and kickbacks. Nothing compared to Silver, who was in the $5 million range. Kruger got 7 long years while Silver got 12 years.
The government wanted the judge to throw the book at poor old Kruger, and harped on the fact that he spent a lot money on “interior decorating” at the Turano waterfront mansion in Mill Basin, Brooklyn. The two doctor brothers lived in the mansion with mother Dottie, with Kruger a frequent guest. One big happy family. Kruger wasn’t a greedy man or a big spender. At Kruger’s sentencing he compared himself to Joe Ganim, current Mayor of Bridgeport, CT, and argued that Ganim was a big time spender, getting wined and dined by developers, while all Kruger did was spend some quality time with Dottie and her sons. Ganim got out of Federal prison and was re-elected mayor, after doing 7 years. Ganim never went to Otisville. I heard from sources in Bridgeport City Hall that Ganim doesn’t like crowds, he keeps to himself, unlike the old days when he was Mayor, before he went to jail. Prison will do that to you. You get a touch of PTSD, or a large dose of it if you spend significant time locked up. I know when I first got out I couldn’t handle crowds, I refused to wear the color green, and my blood pressure went up whenever I saw a cop car or a police officer.