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Teresa Giudice in Prison: 5 Interesting Facts

By Daniel Taylor, Esq. | Last updated on

"The Real Housewives of New Jersey" star Teresa Giudice began serving her 15-month federal prison sentence on Monday.

Giudice arrived at the Federal Correctional Institute in Danbury, Connecticut, just before 3 a.m., reports E! Online. Giudice and her husband Joe Giudice both pleaded guilty to bankruptcy fraud charges in 2014. Teresa was facing as much as 27 months in prison for her role in the fraud scheme, which included as much as $5 million in fraudulent mortgage loans.

In fitting reality TV fashion, however, it turns out that the prison Teresa Giudice will call home for the next 15 months is something of a celebrity itself. What should you know about FCI Danbury? Here are five interesting facts:

  1. It's the same prison where Lauryn Hill and Leona Helmsley served time. The Federal Correctional Institute in Danbury has certainly had previous celebrity "guests." Singer Lauryn Hill served time there in 2013 for tax evasion as did billionaire businesswoman Leona Helmsley.
  2. It's the prison that inspired "Orange is the New Black." FCI Danbury serves as the inspiration for the prison in which the Netflix series "Orange is the New Black" takes place. Piper Kerman, whose memoir serves as the basis for the series, was also sentenced to 15 months in Danbury, back in 2004, but only ended up serving 13 months.
  3. It is a low-security prison. Danbury is a low-security institution with a minimum-security satellite camp, meaning that inmates are afforded more privileges than those at medium-security, high-security, or administrative institutions. For inmates such as Giudice in the minimum-security camp, these privileges include sleeping in dormitories with a low staff-to-inmate ratio and limited or no perimeter fencing.
  4. There are visitation rules to follow. As seen in "Orange is the New Black," there is a set of rules that must be followed by those wishing to visit an inmate at a Federal Correctional Institution. This includes being placed on an inmate's visiting list and being pre-approved by the Bureau of Prisons. Beyond family members, attorneys, clergy members, and other select visitors, this list can generally include no more than 10 friends or associates. Visitors are also subject to behavioral rules including a dress code that forbids "provocative or revealing clothes."
  5. What can Giudice buy from the commissary? The commissary at FCI Danbury sells a lot more than just the candy bars and Ramen noodles you would expect. Some of the more interesting items on the prison's commissary list include an MP3 player (retail price $69.70) and an English/Spanish dictionary ($2.15).

For his role in the fraud, Teresa's husband Joe Giudice was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison, but the judge allowed the Giudices to serve their sentences separately in order to care for the couple's four daughters. Joe Giudice is set to begin serving his sentence when Teresa is released in 2016.

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