Adding insult to incarceration

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Talk about adding insult to incarceration.
Martha Stewart has been sentenced to serve her time at the federal prison in Alderson, W.Va. She had requested to serve her five-month sentence at the prison in Danbury, Conn., to be closer to her Westport, Conn., home.
Against her wishes. It is reported that despite this, or her second choice of a prison in Florida, to be nearer to yet another of her homes, she was sentenced to the West Virginia prison despite her wishes.
“The West Virginia facility,” her lawyer wrote, “is not readily accessible. It is served by no local airports and has limited accessibility by rail.”
Why, there’s probably no Starbucks either! Talk about your cruel and unusual punishment!
Why oh why is there never an ACLU lawyer around when a media maven needs one?
Isn’t that the point. Uh, isn’t “inaccessibilty” kind of the point of prison? If you were simply allowed to live in a dorm and share a toilet with 20 plus roommates while someone else footed the bill for your food and cable and you could hang out with any of your friends and family willy nilly – that wouldn’t be prison. That’s college.
Nonetheless, West Virginia was chosen by the Feds precisely because of its remote location, a source told the Associated Press.
There was a concern that the Connecticut and Florida prisons were, and I quote: “too accessible to the media.”
Unlike West Virginia, where, presumably, they have yet to discover vowels? Or, Katie Couric.
Apparently, the trains have stopped running since West Virginia was very nearly overrun with journalists trying to trample Jessica Lynch under their press passes a few years back?
Bad rap. This, my rural neighbors, is yet another example of how the media view middle America as nothing but a vast, uncharted, wasteland clearly devoid of rudimentary transportation, newspapers, or a decent cup of cappuccino.
Let alone a fax machine that would allow an intrepid AP stringer to file a story from the wilds of West Virginia.
Granted, it’s not just a personal problem on the part of West Virginia. Generally, the entire Midwest is given a big yawning pass by the media (exception given, of course, for those colorful characters trotted out to be lauded as “salt of the earth” whenever a working stiff is needed to illustrate some depressing point).
Nickname. There is even a media endorsed name for it: “Flyover Country.” Flyover country refers to the part of the country where the east and west coast fail to meet (i.e. about 85 percent of us).
As a result, that rare class of urbanites and coasters sit in their comfy first class seats and fly from Left Coast to Right Coast and back again.
They then claim to know all about us in what they imagine is our suburban and midwestern dreariness where we all engage in nightly rounds of cow tipping to add interest to our mundane lives.
Which we all know is complete bunk. Cow tipping is strictly for Saturday night.
Holding its own. Nonetheless West Virginia, I say you have every right to demand an apology! Despite what Martha, her attorneys, or the Associated Press might think, I’ll just bet your prisons are every bit as “accessible” as some fancy schmancy Florida prison.
You’ve hosted a bevy of wanna-be presidential assassins including, but not limited to, Manson family member Squeaky Fromme in addition to Billie Holiday. You are so A-list!
Sure, you might not serve those drinks with the little umbrellas at inmate happy hour, and prisoners probably have to clean their own cabanas – but your prison must have its own easy charm.
What an opportunity. Imagine the opportunities the rural location will provide Martha. Just think of all the craft ideas she’ll come away with. The quick and easy application of gilt to gun racks alone could become a cottage industry.
Surely she won’t squander the opportunity to accessorize prison green garb (perhaps lobbying for a seasonal change to prison orange jumpsuits just in time for the autumn harvest).
And have you seen what that woman can do with cornstalks and a gourd?
It goes without saying that we will all sleep better as a nation once the mean streets of Connecticut are swept clean of the likes of Martha Stewart.
Only when we see her safely ensconced away from innocent bystanders – and the prying eyes of Peter Jennings – in the remote “inaccessibility” of West Virginia, will any of us truly be safe.
Outlaw glue guns. This is not to say that we should let our guard down when it comes to Martha and the law. Remember friends, when they outlaw glue guns, only outlaws will have glue guns.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt wishes Martha a safe and happy incarceration. She welcomes comments online at http://userweb.epohi.com/~kseabolt or c/o P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460.)

About the Author

Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless. More Stories by Kymberly Foster Seabolt

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