CUMBERLAND — Chances might be good for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort — recently sentenced to more than seven years in prison for witness tampering, tax and bank fraud and other crimes — to serve his time at what’s been called “Club Fed” in Cumberland.

Reuters reports that the U.S. judge overseeing Manafort’s trial in Washington, D.C., recommended on Friday that his sentence be served at the Federal Correctional Institution in Cumberland.

“The U.S. Bureau of Prisons will ultimately decide where Manafort will spend his sentence and the agency does not have to follow Judge Amy Berman Jackson’s recommendation,” the report states.

FCI Cumberland is a medium-security prison with an adjacent minimum-security satellite camp that houses 1,200 inmates, according to the Bureau of Prisons website.

The BOP recently denied — and wouldn’t give a reason — a request from the Cumberland Times-News to tour the facility.

Jan Alderton was the Cumberland Times-News managing editor from 1987 to 1994, and 2001 to 2015. 

He said the prison routinely withheld information from the paper.

“In the past, the federal prison has been extremely secretive regarding the identity of persons of notoriety who are serving time there,” Alderton said via text message. “Unfortunately for the local community, the local newspaper is not given the same access as the national media. We always knew before even asking we would be denied access or information.”

John Smith, current managing editor of the paper, toured the facility before it opened in the early 1990s.

“It reminded me of a community college campus setting with sidewalks separating the inmate housing units,” Smith said. “We toured the prison part of it (secure area) but not the camp … It was all new, state-of-the-art but the inmates hadn't arrived."

According to a 2015 Washington Post report, the Cumberland camp is “the go-to for white-collar Washington criminals.” 

Jack Abramoff and former Clinton administration official Webb Hubbell served time at the Cumberland prison camp, “where prisoners are free to leave the premises to do yard work and the like, as long as they return,” the report states.

According to the prison’s commissary order form, camp inmates may shop once per week and buy items including an MP3 player for $88, apricot scrub for $4.70 and raw almonds for $3.85.

Special purchase orders can be requested for hobby and craft items.

Inmates also have access to a law library that has laptop computers.

The camp handbook states, “Unit televisions may be viewed during established off-duty hours, which generally coincide with the hours rooms are unlocked.”

Town hall meetings are held periodically to make announcements and discuss changes in the policy and procedures.

“Loud talking, running, horseplay, etc., will not be tolerated,” the handbook states.

Inmates are authorized to make up to 300 minutes per month of debit calls or collect calls. 

All inmates, who have been medically cleared, are expected to maintain a regular job assignment that pays between 12 and 40 cents per hour.

Additionally, “Inmates at FPC Cumberland are provided nutritious and appealing meals in accordance with the National Menu,” the handbook states.

Inmates are encouraged to have visits in order to maintain family and community ties. 

A pardon may not be applied for until the expiration of at least five years from the date of release from confinement, the handbook states.

“In some cases involving crimes of a serious nature, such as violation of Narcotics Laws, Gun Control Laws, Income Tax Laws, Perjury, and violation of public trust involving personal dishonesty, fraud involving substantial sums of money, violations involving organized crime, or crimes of a serious nature, a waiting period of seven years is usually required.”

Teresa McMinn is the digital editor at Cumberland Times-News. Email her at tmcminn@times-news.com, call/text her at 304-639-2371 and follow her on Twitter.

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