Late at night, with the lights turned out and only one jail officer on duty, a Hobbesian state of nature unfolds, according to Blagojevich. He recalls the largest and fiercest convicts turning on the fans to blow toward themselves. Then they'd talk it over, deciding who would fight which guard. Sometimes they picked guards at random. If they couldn't decide, then they just took turns being the one down for the count.
Blagojevich says he tries not to think about what will happen when he gets out. "But I can't help but wonder," he writes. "Will I be able to keep myself out of trouble? Will my family be safe?"
He says that he has been surprised by how much support he has received from inmates. Some have told him they feel sorry for him; others have asked for advice. One man wrote a book proposal based on their conversations.
Blagojevich was convicted on charges including trying to sell President Barack Obama's Senate seat. On top of his maximum sentence of 20 years, he may also have to pay $10,000 in fines.
He is appealing his conviction and sentence.
He was habitually and brazenly late for occasions while governor, if he showed up at all. He was frequently gone from his Chicago office in the Thompson Center and was frequently AWOL from Springfield. But there he was, on the other end of the line, early.
Late at night, with the lights turned out and only one jail officer on duty, a Hobbesian state of nature unfolds, according to Blagojevich. He recalls the largest and fiercest convicts turning on the fans to blow toward themselves.
The circumstances in Ivan Denisovich's jail dehumanize the convicts, who attempt to reclaim their humanity through a variety of means: Alyosha the Baptist reads the Bible; Buinovsky, a former naval captain, cites Criminal Code sections against the guards; and Tsezar talks about movies. Prison life is also described in detail by Solntsev, who visits his son in detention.
Denisovich himself seems resigned to his fate. When asked how he's doing, he replies "All right." When another convict asks if he has any complaints, he says no, everything's fine.
He eats well and doesn't go on hunger strike, which the other prisoners do to protest their unfair treatment. The only thing that bothers him is having his photo taken, but even then he doesn't make a fuss.
In conclusion, he notes that people will try to find something good in every situation and believes that his situation can't be all that bad after all.
Nowadays many people think that prison is almost a vacation compared to the lives those prisoners could have led outside of prison walls. But this wasn't always the case - not long ago, prison was the only option for those found guilty of their crimes. In fact, before 1989, being sent to prison was the expected outcome of a criminal trial.
When Vladek speaks German to his German captors, he narrowly avoids being beaten. Vladek discovers the soldier he murdered as the captives are ordered to assist the Germans in sorting out the injured and the dead. The Jewish inmates are treated far worse than the other detainees in the POW camp. Vladek realizes that if he is to have any chance of surviving, he must escape from the camp.
After the death of his wife and son in Auschwitz, Vladek decides to escape. He manages to convince a young Czech woman named Marta to help him hide from the Nazis. They travel across Europe seeking refuge with friends and relatives but everywhere they go, Vladek causes trouble for himself and everyone around him. Eventually, they end up back in Prague where Vladek hopes to find another way to survive. But there's only one problem: Vladek is still wanted by the Nazis for murder!
In 1945, just months before the Soviet army reaches Prague, Vladek escapes from prison again. This time he heads west toward Germany but is captured once more by Russian soldiers who suspect him of being a Nazi spy. They take him to a prison camp where other suspected spies are held. Here, Vladek meets another Jewish man who tells him that the Russians are about to free all their prisoners. When this happens, the two men head north in search of freedom.
"Just a bunch of males making a lot of noise" (bad sounds and bad smells). In an email, Blagojevich told me this anecdote. It is the first time he has been questioned since his incarceration more than five and a half years ago. He goes on to say that the facility lacked air conditioning as well.
Blagojevich spent more than two years at the Federal Correctional Institution, Florence, Colorado. His wife, Patti, said in a statement released by her lawyer that she visits him regularly and they talk about their children and what would happen to them if Blagojevich were not president. She added that he is "a man of great integrity who has been wrongfully accused".
The former governor says he is looking forward to getting back into politics after leaving office in January 2009. He has retained a high-profile lawyer, James Montgomery, to help with his case. Blagojevich has said he does not plan to make any further comments on his conviction or appeal until after his release from prison.