TUCSON, Ariz. — Larry Nassar’s life behind bars now moves to a high-security federal prison in Arizona that specializes in treating sex offenders.
Nassar, the disgraced former USA Gymnastics team doctor who admitted to sexually abusing underage girls, has been transferred from a Michigan facility to a federal prison in Tucson to start a 60-year sentence for child pornography crimes, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) said Saturday.
The prison is located in the desert about 10 miles from downtown Tucson — and about 2,000 miles from Michigan State University, where Nassar was an associate professor before losing his livelihood in the sex abuse scandal.
Opened in 2007, the prison houses 1,536 inmates — 1,387 in the main prison and 149 at a minimum-security satellite camp, according to the Bureau of Prisons.
Name and number
Nassar will spent his first few weeks at the prison going through an orientation session, as do all prisoners, according to the inmate admission and orientation handbook. He will be issued prison clothing tagged with his name and registration number, 21504-040.
During orientation, Nassar will learn about his schedules for sleeping and eating, as well as his responsibilities, educational opportunities, how the commissary works, visiting hours and other aspects of inmate life. The handbook says inmates can use computers but don’t have internet access.
Wake-up for all inmates is 6 a.m, and headcounts are normally held at midnight, 3 a.m., 5 a.m., 4 p.m. and 10 p.m., the handbook said. Inmates are responsible for making their beds, sweeping and mopping their cell floors “and ensuring (their cell) is clean and sanitary,” the handbook said.
It’s not known if Nassar will share a cell or be put into protective custody to avoid possible violence from other prisoners. The Bureau of Prisoners would not comment on Saturday.
It’s also unclear how long Nassar, will spend at the Tucson prison or if he will be transferred to another institution. His release date is March 23, 2069, according to the prison system webpage.
Nassar’s attorney, Matt Newburg, didn’t want to talk about what will happen to his client in prison. “These questions should be directed to the Bureau of Prisons,” he said.
Sex offender treatment
The prison is one of nine in the federal system that offers a Sex Offender Management Program (SOMP), according to the Bureau of Prisons. Having a large number of sex offenders at these institutions ensures inmates feel safe about participating, the BOP says.
Numerous high-profile sex offenders have started their prison terms in Tucson and Brian David Mitchell, the kidnapper of Elizabeth Smart, is still incarcerated there, according to the Bureau of Prisons inmate locator.
The Tucson prison offers what is termed “non-residential treatment,” which consists of out-patient group meeting two or three times a week for several hours, the Bureau of Prisons webpage said.
“Participants learn basic skills and concepts to help them understand their past offenses and to reduce risk of future offending. This treatment is offered to offenders evaluated to have low to moderate risk of reoffending,” according to a description of the program.
The BOP has high-intensity “residential” programs at prisons in Marion, Illinois; and Devens, Massachusetts, in which offenders receive treatment five days a week. These programs target “offenders with an elevated risk of reoffending,” the BOP says.
The BOP will determine if an inmate should have residential or non-residential treatment, the BOP webpage says. The BOP noted what while inmates can receive treatment when they request it, most inmates normally enter treatment when they have 24-42 months left on their sentence — about 56 years from now for Nassar, age 54.
The website says only prisoners who volunteer can receive the treatment. It’s not known if Nassar has volunteered.
Federal, then state sentences
If he’s still alive when he finishes his federal sentence, he will have to return to Michigan to serve sentences for sex crimes.
On Monday, Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 125 years in Eaton County, Michigan, where nearly 200 girls and women made statements about how his sexual abuse had changed their lives. The Eaton County sentence will run concurrently with the 40-to-175-year sentence from nearby Ingham County, Michigan.
In December, Nassar was sentenced for the child pornography charges in federal court.
He pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography in 2004, possessing child pornography from 2003 to 2016 and destroying and concealing evidence in 2016 as he was under investigation, according to the US attorney’s office for the Western District of Michigan.