It has been announced today through several outlets that Plaxico Burress will be released from prison on June 6, three months early due to good behavior. The former New York Giants star has been incarcerated since September of 2009 with the majority of his sentence served at Oneida Correctional Facility in Rome, N.Y.
Not a Vacation at the Country Club
People tend to believe athletes and celebrities who find themselves with legal troubles serve their sentences at plush minimum-security facilities comparable to country clubs. If that is the case, the New York State Department of Correctional Services did not get the memo.
Oneida, while just a medium-security facility, made the news last year when a prisoner was charged with second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter after stabbing another inmate in the heart during a fight.
Life At Oneida
The New York Times has reported Burress is kept in protective custody at all times and is only seen by other inmates during visitation. Burress remains in the prison's "V Wing" where he, other high profile inmates like former Sopranos star Lilo Brancato, and those in protective custody have individual cells.
If you were an NFL GM, would you take a flyer on Plaxico Burress?
The Correctional Association of New York, a non-profit organization that "through monitoring, research, public education and policy recommendations...strives to make the administration of justice in New York State more fair, efficient and humane."
In March 2007, this organization visited Oneida to document the facility's demographics and various programs.
In stark contradiction to the country club illusion, almost half of inmates at Oneida were convicted of violent crimes. Inmates were polled and almost 60 percent said they frequently feel unsafe. The Correctional Association noted this was one of the highest rates in the state. Most of the uneasiness stemmed from concerns of staff abuse and physical force used by the staff.
The facility does have several vocational programs (building maintenance, carpentry, electrical, etc.) and education programs (GED and, for those that can afford it, college correspondence courses) prisons can take to prepare themselves for life on the outside.
Life After Prison
What will life be like for Burress when he returns from prison?
Things appear to have worked out well for Michael Vick, who recently signed a one-year deal worth approximately $20 million. This reemergence required a complete philosophy change on the part of Vick, though. He dedicated himself, accepted a new role on a team and by all accounts has became a model citizen.
Roger Goodell has said Burress will be eligible to play once his sentence is completed, so what will the market be like?
There have been reports that the Ravens Baltimore-Ravens-interested-in-jailed-receiver-Plaxico-Burress-when-released-011811" target="_blank">would be interested in the veteran receiver. Giants GM Jerry Reese has said his team will "keep their options open" with regards to Burress. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, has insisted there are several teams with interest in his client.
What happens after June 6 will be entirely up to Burress. All indications are that his talent will be enough for a team to take a chance. He better make the most of it because it just might be his last.