Local News

Saunders Says Stewart's Confinement Won't Be Easy Time

Posted July 17, 2004

— Martha Stewart has been sentenced to five months in prison for her role in a stock sale.

An appeal could keep her out of prison. But if she does go, a local woman knows what her time will be like.

Linda Saunders recently completed her white-collar sentence in federal prison. Saunders served two months in a prison camp because of her role in the Meg Scott Phipps scandal.

"You have no privacy," she told WRAL. "There's no privacy in any of them (prisons). But in camp, it seems a little worse because everybody's able to go in and out of your room."

Saunders believes Stewart would end up in a prison camp for minor offenders. No cells. No bars. No high fences -- but still no picnic.

"It brings you down," she said. "Pretty much rock bottom."

Stewart will be allowed to watch the news on a community telvision set for all the inmates. She will have visitation rights and receive newspapers in the mail.

Because the sentence is less than many predicted, Saunders said, Stewart may fare better than most.

"She can actually count the days," Saunders said. "That made a big differnce with me because I could count how many days I had. People that are in there for a long time, you know, they're in there for years, and some people are so old they'll never got out of there. They'll die in there. Even with Meg, I think she can't count her days."

Phipps is serving a four-year sentence. She is not scheduled to be released until 2008.

As for Stewart, the judge put the sentence on hold pending the outcome of an appeal.

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