When Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer, was sentenced last month to three years in federal prison on fraud charges, he had the right to request any number of prison camps favored by white-collar offenders for their relatively resort-like settings.
Cohen requested to be placed at the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, N.Y., which boasts a full-time Chasidic chaplain, daily minyanim and kosher vending machines in the visiting room. The prison commissary sells yarmulkes for $6 and offers a kosher selection that includes matzo, gefilte fish, rugelach and seltzer.
Otisville’s camp has long been the lockup of choice among Jewish white-collar offenders, including Sheldon Silver. Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin was also in Otisville but in the section relegated for people serving longer sentences. Bernie Madoff, who received 150 years for his Ponzi scheme, had his request for Otisville denied.
“For a Jewish person, there is no place like Otisville,” said Earl Seth David, 54, a former inmate who attended kosher meals, religious classes and weekly Shabbos services in the prison shul.
“As a Jew, there’s no other prison you can get services like that.”
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