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Sandusky packed like a pill

BY JACOB LANCASTER | JUNE 28, 2012 6:30 AM

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I'm sorry to inform you that Jerry Sandusky's possible 424 year sentence will be one served like the pills that could have came for his "histrionic personality disorder" — tightly contained, severely regulated, yet protected from damage in cotton.

Because of the wildly popular media coverage of the strangest event to happen in the Big Ten in years, Sandusky has been placed in a protective-custody unit of Centre County Correctional Facility in Bellefonte, Pa.

Protective-custody units were developed in the early '60s for informants, and they now have morphed into places to shelter all those who would find themselves in danger if contained in the general population. Fame has now been added as a reason for an inmate to transfer into a protective-custody unit, a place in which Americans have now made the incarceration of our most outlandish criminals into a spectacle.

Charles Manson and John Wayne Gacy both wound up there, for example. Gacy found a love of painting in prison, his pieces selling from $200-$2,000.

Most notably, he painted Snow White's seven dwarfs playing baseball against the Chicago Cubs.

However Manson, on the other hand, gave four interviews throughout the '80s, with the most recent — titled "The Mind of Manson" — airing uncut on ABC in 2009. His most popular YouTube video, "Charles Manson Sings" has 3,156,825 hits and shows him belting gibberish and then holding it in high regards as testimony to his musical talent.

The protection of famous criminals became a serious issue after Jeffrey Dahmer, who killed 17 young men and boys in Milwaukee, was beat to death with a broomstick by a fellow inmate in 1994.

A line from philosopher Michel Foucault's book Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison helps us understand the reasoning behind this: "Instead of taking revenge, criminal justice should simply punish."

But there is something inside me that is upset that Sandusky will never undergo the standard rigors we've deemed worthy of the crimes he has committed. In an interview with juror Joshua Harper on NBC's "Today" show, Harper said about Sandusky's reaction: "I looked at him during the verdict, and just the look on his face — no real emotion. Just kind of accepting, because he knew it was true."

And maybe I'm upset that the pressure from this situation didn't infect him as it did Joe Paterno.

Maybe it bothers me he'll most likely never know the fear of being on the receiving end of his trademark shower moves.

Frankly, though, I don't want to see Sandusky interviewed by "Dateline" in the upcoming years. It is saddening that he's probably the perfect candidate for it. He's like interviewing a boy guilty of breaking something precious in the house. He constantly fumbles over his words, repeats the question, denies and then admits and then denies again. To begin his interview with Bob Costas, Sandusky states that he is innocent of all charges. Costas asks, "Innocent? Completely innocent and falsely accused in every aspect?" and Sandusky answers, "Well, I could say that I have done some of those things."

Sandusky will spend the rest of his life in this odd way; his physical body protected by the protective-custody unit but his mind continually probed and humiliated by our media. However, despite the conditions of his time in jail, he is only allowed the standard number of items.

He's allowed no more than 10 personal photographs, no more than 10 letters, and no more than four inches of legal documents or materials. He's allowed six pairs of white underwear, six pairs of white sox, six white undershirts. And he's also allowed his wedding band, too.


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