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economic justice

Stewart to Serve Time in West Virginia

NEW YORK (AP) - Martha Stewart, convicted of lying about a stock sale, has been ordered to serve her sentence at the federal prison in Alderson, W.Va.
Stewart had asked to serve her five-month sentence in Danbury, Conn., close to her 90-year-old mother and her home in Westport, or as a second choice in Coleman, Fla. But the federal Bureau of Prisons instead chose Alderson, a minimum-security women's prison that houses about 1,000 inmates.

Stewart issued a statement Wednesday confirming the prison selection. She repeated that she had hoped to be designated to a ``facility closer to my family and more accessible to my appellate attorneys.'' But she said she was pleased she was assigned so quickly to Alderson, and noted it was the first federal prison camp for women in the United States.

``I look forward to getting this behind me and to vigorously pursuing my appeal,'' she said.

A federal judge has ordered Stewart to report to prison by Oct. 8.

Alderson was chosen largely because of its remote location, a source close to the case, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press. There was concern that the Connecticut and Florida prisons were too accessible to the media, the source said.

Those prisons also had more serious overcrowding issues, the source said. The Coleman prison, for example, is crowded with inmates moved from other Florida prisons because of the recent hurricanes.

Dan Dunne, a spokesman for the Bureau of Prisons, declined to comment on the decision.

Stewart, 63, and former stockbroker Peter Bacanovic were convicted in March of lying to federal investigators about why Stewart sold 3,928 shares of ImClone Systems Inc. stock in December 2001.

They received the same sentence - five months in prison, plus five months of house arrest.

Both were allowed to remain free while they appealed, but Stewart announced plans this month to begin serving her time anyway in order to ``reclaim my good life.'' Her appeal remains alive.

The West Virginia prison, nicknamed Camp Cupcake, opened in 1927. Located about 270 miles southwest of Washington, D.C., in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains, it is known for its open environment. There are no metal fences surrounding the camp.

Like all other inmates, Stewart would be expected to work most of each day. The primary jobs there are grounds maintenance, sanitation and food services. She can earn between 12 cents and 40 cents an hour at these jobs, which begin shortly after a daily 6 a.m. wakeup call, Dunne said.

Inmates at Alderson sleep in bunk beds in one of nine large dormitory-style rooms that house between 26 and 90 inmates per room. There are no individual cells. Lights out is about 8:45 p.m. on weekdays, a bit later on weekends, Dunne said.

Its best-known inmates include Lynette ``Squeaky'' Fromme, a member of the Manson family who tried to shoot President Ford, and Sara Jane Moore, who also tried to kill Ford.

Shares in Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., Stewart's multimedia empire, were down 20 cents at $15.56 in midday trading Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Associated Press Writer Curt Anderson in Washington contributed to this report.

On the Net:

Martha Stewart defense site:  http://www.marthatalks.com

Bureau of Prisons:  http://www.bop.gov

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