American actress Felicity Huffman reported on Tuesday to a federal prison in California to serve a two-week sentence in a college admissions scandal that underscored the lengths some wealthy parents will go to get their children into top universities.
Huffman’s husband, actor William H Macy, dropped her off at the Federal Correctional Institution, Dublin, a low-security prison for women in the San Francisco Bay Area, according to TASC Group, which represents Huffman.
The prison has been described by media as “Club Fed”, making its way onto a Forbes list in 2009 of “America’s 10 Cushiest Prisons”. It has housed well-known inmates in the past, including “Hollywood Madam” Heidi Fleiss.
Once inside the prison, Huffman will share a room and open toilet with three other inmates, according to a TASC Group publicist who declined to be named in accordance with company policy. The person said the actress will be subjected to five bed checks a day while having access to a gym, library and TV room.
Sally Swarts, a spokeswoman for the prison, said she could not provide specific information on Huffman but noted that everything in the inmate handbook would apply to the actress.
It says inmates are assigned khaki pants, blouse and brown T-shirt with a nametag that must be displayed all the time. Wakeup on weekdays is 5am, with breakfast at 5:30am, and beds must be made by 6am. Inmates who have been medically cleared typically work in food service, a maintenance shop or as a unit orderly.
Huffman, 56, “is prepared to serve the term of imprisonment Judge [Indira] Talwani ordered as one part of the punishment she imposed for Ms Huffman’s actions,” the TASC Group said in a statement that provided no further details.
A federal judge in Boston sentenced Huffman last month to 14 days in prison, a $30,000 fine, 250 hours of community service and a year’s probation after she pleaded guilty to fraud and conspiracy for paying an admissions consultant $15,000 to have a proctor correct her daughter’s SAT answers.
The Emmy-award winning actress tearfully apologised at her sentencing, saying, “I was frightened. I was stupid, and I was so wrong”.
The judge noted that Huffman took steps “to get one more advantage” for her daughter in a system “already so distorted by money and privilege”.
Huffman was the first parent sentenced in the scandal, which was the biggest college admissions case ever prosecuted by the Justice Department.
A total of 51 people have been charged in the case. Many of the parents are accused of paying William “Rick” Singer, an admissions consultant at the centre of the scheme, to bribe exam administrators to allow someone else to take tests for their children or to correct their answers, authorities say. Others are accused of paying Singer to bribe coaches in exchange for helping their children get into schools as fake athletic recruits.
Huffman paid $15,000 to boost her older daughter’s SAT scores. Singer, who has pleaded guilty, was accused of bribing a test proctor to correct the teenager’s answers.
The amount Huffman paid is relatively low compared with other alleged bribes in the scheme. Some parents were accused of paying up to $500,000.