Vick goes to jail early
Nov. 19: Michael Vick turns himself in three weeks early to begin serving his sentence for dogfighting. NBC's Jay Gray reports.
RICHMOND, Va. - The Northern Neck Regional Jail doesn’t have the comforts of Michael Vick’s Georgia mansion, but at least the disgraced quarterback will get to enjoy a hot turkey dinner this Thanksgiving. And, perhaps, a non-contact visit with a loved one.
Vick unexpectedly turned himself in Monday and will be housed at the jail until his sentencing on a federal dogfighting charge in three weeks. He faces up to five years in prison.
Jail officials wouldn’t discuss their new celebrity inmate, but a peek inside the facility provided a glimpse of what life for the Atlanta Falcons quarterback will be like in the coming days. And it’s not exactly festive.
The jail houses inmates charged with offenses from misdemeanors to murder. About 40 of the approximately 425 current inmates are women, who are housed separately. Some inmates are confined to small cells, while others are housed in dorms.
High-profile inmates are sometimes kept apart from the general population, but jail officials won’t say where Vick is being held within the facility.
Vick can forget his flashy suits. Inmates wear standard-issue black-and-white striped uniforms. One bonus: they get to wear their own shoes.
Meals are delivered to each of the jail’s 20 housing units. Thursday’s will be extra special: turkey, stuffing, rice, cranberry sauce and sweet potato pie.
Conjuring up a jolly holiday atmosphere might be a bit of a stretch even for the most determined inmate. The squat facility is partially encircled by endless loops of barbed wire. Inside the gray cinderblock lobby, grim-faced visitors slump in plastic chairs. At the visitor’s booth, a woman screams into a telephone at the inmate sitting across from her. He grins back through the Lexan divider until she finally mutters, “I love you.”
This is where Vick will be allowed to see his own loved ones, if he chooses. Inmates are typically allowed one non-contact visit per week, which can last up to an hour, said Maj. Ted Hull.
If he gets bored, Vick could attempt to keep himself in shape in the jail’s recreation yard and gym. Inmates are allowed to play basketball and run, but weight lifting is prohibited, Hull said.
The jail is located just behind the welcome sign to this rural town of about 1,500 near the Chesapeake Bay. Down the road, dozens of black cows graze in a pasture. Head in the other direction and shortly you’ll come to a Hardee’s, where a group of locals who meets each morning for breakfast and gossip is discussing the topic du jour: their new celebrity neighbor.
Let’s just call them decidedly unimpressed.
“I love good dogs,” 76-year-old Jack Reams, a 50-year resident of Warsaw, said as he nursed a cup of coffee. “I don’t like bad dogs. I think he’s a bad dog.”
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
“I think he ought to stay in jail forever,” said Eldor Schuman, 70, who lives in nearby Lottsburg. “Anyone with a career like he has, millions of dollars, to go and waste it on the mistreatment of animals is unbelievable.
“I will not feel sorry for him, I feel sorry for all the animals.”
After his surrender Monday, one of Vick’s attorneys explained the move as yet another step in Vick’s public repentance for his involvement in the bloody dogfighting ring.
“From the beginning, Mr. Vick has accepted responsibility for his actions, and his self-surrender further demonstrates that acceptance,” Billy Martin said in a statement.
That fell flat with Reams and his friends, who said Vick’s surrender was just another attempt to elicit sympathy from the judge. In fact, Reams has his own idea of how Vick should be punished:
“I think he ought to be put in the cell with two pit bulls,” he said.
PFT: Defensive end finally finds a new team in San Diego — and for a honey of a deal that would be worth a max of $13.35 million.
PFT: Jets RB Mike Goodson was charged with five gun and drug counts Friday morning, after New Jersey State Police found the car he was riding in parked in the middle of Route 80 in Denville, N.J.
2013 SNF Schedule
Check out the 2013 Sunday Night Football schedule.
Video: Football from NBC Sports
Chudzinski: 'Too early' to name a QB
Following Thursday's OTA, Browns coach Rob Chudzinski speaks to the media about his team’s brewing quarterback controversy. He feels the competition will aid in each QB’s progression as a passer, but he isn’t ready to name a starter for Week 1.
Check out some of the NFL cheerleaders from across the league.