AKRON -- Jimmy Dimora is likely to go away for a long time. But given the charges he was convicted of and the amount of money he stole, ex-convicts say the former county commissioner will be revered in federal prison.
Mansfield Frazier, a counterfeiter who went to federal prison five times, said there is a pecking order among convicts in the joint.
"Hierarchies in prison are based on money," Frazier said. "If you're there for (stealing) money, then they respect you. That's why Bernie Madoff (convicted of running one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in U.S. history) got a lot of respect."
Frazier said the fact that Dimora is going away for taking bribes - in the forms of cash, free home improvements and other things of value - means he will likely be respected by inmates.
When you add in Dimora's political background and the fact that he did not testify against others, Frazier said, it means that Dimora's likely going to get a warm welcome when he reports to federal prison.
"He's going to be treated like prison royalty -- ain't no two ways about it," Frazier said.
Dimora can also expect a pretty decent way of life, said former County Recorder Pat O'Malley.
"Federal prison is not like people see on TV. In state prisons, the inmates run the asylum," said O'Malley, who spent 14 months at Elkton Federal Prison near Youngstown. "Federal prison is like a college campus. It's a very nice atmosphere."
At Elkton, O'Malley said he was able to use a pool hall, go to ball fields and sit in on art classes - he even had access to a personal trainer.
While it might sound like Club Fed, Frazier said there is one thing that reminds prisoners they are being punished.
"Every time you reach for a door and you can't open that door, then you know they've got you."