What will Elizabeth Holmes’ life behind bars be like?

  • Elizabeth Holmes reported to prison to begin serving an 11-year sentence
  • A former inmate says the prison camp is "not that bad"
  • Holmes will be able to see her children every weekend at the facility

(NewsNation) — Lynn Espejo spent two years at Federal Prison Camp Bryan, a federal women’s prison camp she says has moldy showers, low-quality food and leaky ceilings.

That’s what can be expected for Elizabeth Holmes, who reported to the prison Tuesday in Bryan, Texas, to begin an 11-year sentence. The former Theranos CEO was convicted of fraud and conspiracy in January 2022 for defrauding investors in a blood-testing scam.

Describing the prison camp Tuesday on “CUOMO,” Espejo said, despite the issues, “it’s not that bad.”

“Her bedding will look like a kindergarten mat, so she will probably be in shock and not really understand why she’s sleeping straight on the steel,” Espejo said. The bedding “was one of the hardest things to get used to.”

Theranos leaves behind two young children, one of whom she was still pregnant with during her trial in 2021. The second child was conceived shortly after she was convicted of her crimes, and a judge agreed to let Holmes give birth to the baby before she reported to prison.

Holmes will be able to see her children during visiting hours every weekend, and they will be able to sit on her lap, according to the prison’s policies.

Espejo said inmates are also given 300 minutes per month for phone calls, and there is an outdoor visitation area with picnic tables.

The father of both children is William “Billy” Evans, whom she met after breaking up with her former romantic and business partner, Ramesh “Sunny,” Balwani, who began serving a nearly 13-year prison sentence last month in Southern California. Balwani, 57, was convicted for 12 felony counts of fraud and conspiracy committed while he was Theranos’ chief operating officer and living with Holmes.

Federal Prison Camp Bryan is a minimum-security facility about 95 miles northwest of Houston.

There are four housing units, and inmates begin their day at 6 a.m. They must return to their dormitories at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to be counted, and must be in for the night by 8 p.m., the Wall Street Journal reports.

“She will have a fairly strict schedule, but she will have a lot of free movement also, and a lot of free time to interact with others,” Espejo said. “Prison’s not a good place to be, however, a prison camp is not the worst case scenario if you have to be in prison.”

Most federal prison camps don’t even have fences and house those the Bureau of Prisons considers to be the lowest security risk. The prison camps also often have minimal staffing and many of the people incarcerated there work at prison jobs.

According to a 2016 FPC Bryan inmate handbook, those in the Texas facility who are eligible to work can earn between 12 cents and $1.15 per hour in their job assignments, which include food service roles and factory employment operated by Federal Prison Industries.

“In all reality, the women are nice there. They’re gonna help her as long as she is humble, doesn’t cause any issues,” Espejo said. “She should have no problems there.”

Describing the living conditions while she was there, Espejo said the facility served food that was expired and “not for human consumption.” She said ceilings and walls leaked, and the air conditioning would often go out in the summer under the sweltering Texas heat.

“This is her new reality,” Espejo said. “She is a captive audience just like all of us were, and she will learn to adjust because she has no choice but to adjust.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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