Jones Reports Early to Prison

Story by Eric.

Marion Jones began her six-month sentence in federal prison Friday, punishment for lying to investigators about her use of performance-enhancing drugs and her role in a check-fraud scam.

Jones turned herself in before noon at Federal Medical Center Carswell in Fort Worth, the Associated Press reported.

FMC Carswell is located in the northeast corner of the Naval Air Station, Joint Reserve Base, in Fort Worth, approximately two hours from Jones' home in Austin.

Jones was sentenced in January to six months of confinement, and it was widely believed she would spend her time at Federal Prison Camp Bryan - a facility closer in proximity to her home than FMC Carswell.

FPC Bryan is adjacent to a mental-health prison, but Jones was not expected to spend her sentence in one - though the centre also has a lower-security unit and a women's prison camp.

Although FMC Carswell specializes in medical and mental health services, it also has inmates who do not require such care.

FMC Carswell is the only prison in the United States for the chronically ill and dying patients, and has had a mountain of allegations pour up against it for malpractice, misconduct and neglect by staff members - including doctors.

According to the prison's Mortality Review Document, 108 women died at the facility between 1995 - 2005, though autopsy reports have been difficult to obtain by family members.

Accusations of gross medical neglect, rape by prison guards, and toxic exposure for prison workers continue to pile up for the prison, which will not be a walk-in-the-park for Jones, despite her celebrity status.

Marion Jones was an age-group and high school track star, setting the U.S. prep records in the 100m and 200m before graduating from Thousand Oaks High School in Southern California, and attending the University of North Carolina on a basketball and track scholarship.

Jones never materialised as a pure track athlete, but did excel on the hardwood courts, helping lead the Tar Heels to an NCAA title her first year with the team.

Following three years of ups and downs - all exacerbated by injuries, Jones put her foot down 11 years ago - in the spring of 1997 - and dedicated herself to running track and making good of talent which was fleeting.

Jones began training with Trevor Graham shortly after her return to the sport, and, 13 weeks after their partnership began, Jones won two United States titles and qualified for the 1997 IAAF World Outdoor Championships, where she would win gold medals in the 100m and 200m dashes two months later in Athens, Greece.

Jones' rise to stardom was not without its consequence, however, as she was ultimately suspected of taking performance-enhancing drugs during her career.

Jones confessed in 2007-October to having lied to federal authorities investigating her connections to Victor Conte's BALCO laboratory as well as her association and involvement in her ex-boyfriend Tim Montgomery's check-fraud case, and received her sentencing two months ago by Federal judge Kenneth Karas.

Jones, who was not restrained to handcuffs when she checked into prison yesterday, was taken from the base's entry to the prison to be processed, have her photo identification, speak with a prison case worker about the rules, and was then likely passed off to a medical case worker who reviewed Jones' medical history and ascertained if she needed any current subscription medication.

Jones' next step would have been receiving sufficient prison-issued clothing and bedding for the duration of her stay and then being taken to the dormitory where approximately 250 women are housed.

Had Jones self-surrendered this week-end, she may have faced considerable more disadvantage and discomfort, as she would likely not have had access to the commissary, and may have had to spend up to 48 hours in a cordoned-off section of the facility meant for trouble-makers due to not having an assigned bed.

Prisoners in her unit will be awoken today at 06.00 by a mandatory prisoner count, and it will likely be then that Jones, Federal Inmate Number 84868-054, realises that all of the sites, sounds, feelings of emptiness and remorse are not simply part of a bad dream, but will become part of her routine until she is released from prison on or around 2008-September-7.

Jones may already have her approved visitor's register updated, which will enable her the opportunity to have her husband, former Olympian Obadele Thompson, and her children spend time with her today and tomorrow, though that may make enduring her first week alone there even more difficult after she separates from them on Sunday afternoon.

Until such time that Jones is released, however, she will be required to attend an orientation in the next few days, be assigned to a prison job at a rate of $0,13/hour, and will have to hope that her telephone cards are soon activated and her mail pours in.


Contact Marion Jones:

Marion Jones, 84868-054, FMC-Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Ft. Worth, TX 76127.

Friends, family and fans who would like to keep Jones up-to-date with track and field-related news and events - or other news in general, can send up to three magasines per envelope to her. Newspapers may only be sent from the publisher, and hardback books can only be received and distributed if they are from an approved company.

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