The judge who presided over Elizabeth Holmes’ fraud trial and sentenced her last week to more than 11 years in prison has recommended that the former Theranos CEO serve out her time in a minimum-security Texas federal prison camp.
The recommendation for Holmes’ incarceration at FPC Bryan, a facility located about 100 miles northwest of Houston that houses only female inmates, came in a court filing on Wednesday. In addition to offering minimum security, the prison offers frequent family visitation, college-level education, and requires its inmates to participate in work programs.
Keri Axel, a criminal defense attorney with Waymaker said non-violent offenders, like Holmes, are often afforded the opportunity to serve their time in one of the federal government’s minimum-level security facilities such as FBC Bryan.
“Sometimes they're called ‘Camp Fed’ because they have a little bit more amenities, and they're a little nicer places,” she said, comparing the facilities to more tightly secured prisons. Still, “they're not great places. No one wants to be there.”
Judge Edward Davila, who decided Holmes’ sentence, said in the filing that his recommendation is based on the recommendation of Holmes’ probation officer. In handing down her sentence on Friday, Davila parted ways with her probation officer’s recommendation that Holmes instead serve nine years in prison.
Davilia noted that FPC’s more lenient visitation policy could benefit Holmes. Holmes is currently pregnant with her second child and expected to give birth before reporting to prison.
“The Court finds that family visitation enhances rehabilitation,” Davilia wrote in the court entry. FPC also offers inmates access to counseling designed to enhance their relationship with their children while incarcerated.
The Bryan, Texas, prison, which sits on 37 acres, assigns each inmate to one of its housing units separated into self-contained living areas. Inmates are responsible for keeping their rooms clean by making their beds each day, sweeping and mopping their room floor, and taking out the trash.
Inmates are restricted from the amount of personal items they may keep in their possession and must wear government-issued clothing up until the last 30 days of incarceration. Under most circumstances, the facility’s rules state, an inmate can keep photographs, particularly of family and friends, in their possession “since they represent meaningful ties to the community."
A general wake-up for all inmates is 6:00 a.m.
“It is the inmate’s responsibility to leave the unit for meals and work," FBC Bryan’s rules state. "Late sleepers who are unable to maintain rooms or arrive at work on time are subject to disciplinary action.”
Holmes was ordered to report to federal prison on April 27, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. She’s expected to file an appeal, which could come with a request to remain free while her appeal plays out in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. An appeal must be filed within two weeks of Holmes' November 18 sentencing.
George Demos, a former prosecutor for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, says there’s “no doubt” the fallen Silicon Valley superstar will file an appeal. Only after that request — along with a request to remain free during its penance — will it be clear whether she will begin serving out the sentence Davila handed down.
“So whether or not she reports to prison on April 27 remains to be seen,” Demos said.
Provisions within the federal sentencing guidelines do include the possibility for early release based on good behavior. However, most federal offenders serve most of the sentence handed down “I would suspect she’d serve a substantial portion,” Demos said.
Agustin Orozco, a criminal defense attorney for Crowell & Moring, told Yahoo Finance that in reaching Holmes’ sentence, Davila was required to to weigh a number of factors, including the seriousness of Holmes’ offense and deterring future criminal conduct.
“With a highly publicized case, like the one with Elizabeth Holmes, as a defense attorney, you always worry that the judge will issue a higher sentence than what is necessary because the judge wants to ensure they deter similar conduct,” Orozco said. “In the end, the judge…handed down a significant sentence to deter similar conduct from others.
This story's headline was amended to reflect the judge's recommendation for a minimum level security prison.
Alexis Keenan is a legal reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow Alexis on Twitter @alexiskweed.