It may be far from the posh digs she’s used to, but Real Housewife Teresa Giudice’s first week in prison has reportedly gone pretty well. Find out what life is like behind bars for the Real Housewives of New Jersey star.
Although the media is hounding the staff, offering them big cash for a snap of Teresa behind bars, any staff member to takes up an offer like that will lose their job. “Staffers were reminded that their personal cell phones aren’t allowed to be used during work hours, and no pictures of Teresa or any other inmates could be taken,” a source told Radar Online. “Several prison employees have told their bosses they have been approached by media outlets offering big money for pictures of Teresa behind bars.”
The insider also says that Teresa isn’t getting treated differently than anyone else. She’s not getting special privileges, and hasn’t been bullied by other inmates because of her who she is. “She didn’t get any special treatment, but wasn’t singled out because of any celebrity status. She was very grateful for that,” said the insider. Radar also provided a break-down of the reality star’s first day of meals while inside:
Breakfast: a fresh orange, hot oatmeal, three slices of bread, a margarine pat, two packages of jelly, and two cups of skim milk.
Lunch: beans and franks, potatoes, two mustard packets, three slices of bread, two margarine pats, a fresh apple, and a beverage.
Dinner: fish fillet, tomato sauce, white rice, lima beans, two tartar sauce packets, three slices of bread, two margarine packets, a fresh apple, and a beverage.
The Daily Beast spoke with an ex-convict prison consultant Larry Lavine, who described the conditions Teresa is probably living in.
Lavine said she’ll probably be in a dormitory-style cubicle that’s 10-by-10 feet with thin mattresses and pillows. “These dormitories are very drafty and noisy, so it’s hard to get a good night’s sleep,” he noted.
Teresa will also probably have to deal with sexual harassment of some kind. “You’ve got the staff trying to hit on you,” they said. “It’s not all male, but there’s a lot of male staff. There is sexual harassment that goes on in these places—you can fucking bet on that. And she’s not really a bad looking woman.”
Despite that risk, Teresa has reported that her first week has been abuse-free. “She’s doing great,” her lawyer James J. Leonard, Jr. told PEOPLE. “I got a series of emails from her and she is doing phenomenally. It seems like she is getting acclimated very well. She tells me that everybody is nice and everybody is treating her respectfully. She said both the staff and the inmates are being nice to her and that she is getting along fine.” Her emails are coming from a special prison email system that restricts all other internet use. It’s a privilege, like telephone use. Messages are limited to 13,000 characters, pictures are not allowed, and it costs 5 cents a minute to use the computer that sends and receives emails.
Teresa will no doubt have a job in prison to help pay down her $400,000 restitution, and will have to rush to the bathroom first thing in the morning to get everything done in her bunk before she gets to work. “She’s only going to have maybe a half hour to 45 minutes to take care of her hygiene, make her bunk up, and get ready for work,” Lavine says. “Between 6 AM and 7:15 AM, she’s got a lot of sh!t she’s got to do, and it’s not like she can leisurely run into the bathroom when she wants. She’s got to compete for time on the facilities there.”
Her lawyer says her husband Joe is going to visit Teresa this weekend, and will presumably bring the kids. She’s already had two months shaved off of her sentence, but the 42-year-old reality star still has over a year left before she can return home.
Thankfully, because she is in a low-security prison with other women who have end-dates to their sentence, she’s at a lower risk for violence or sexual assault. It’s at higher level prisons, where inmates feel they have less to lose, where behavior can truly get out of control, according to Lavine.
Something that’s really going to help her get through this time is the amount of fan mail she’s receiving behind bars. E Online says the onslaught of support has “really lifted her spirits.”