|In Web Posting, Martha Stewart Speaks From Prison
By Brooke A. Masters
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 22, 2004; 3:31 PM
Martha Stewart lobbied, in a Christmas message posted on her Web site, for criminal sentencing reform and complained about the "bad food" at the West Virginia prison, where she is serving a five-month sentence for lying about a personal stock sale.
"When one is incarcerated with 1,200 other inmates, it is hard to be selfish at Christmas," Stewart wrote from the federal prison in Alderson, W.Va. "I beseech you all to think about these women -- to encourage the American people to ask for reforms, both in sentencing guidelines, in length of incarceration for nonviolent first-time offenders, and for those involved in drug-taking. They would be much better served in a true rehabilitation center than in prison."
Asked for examples of rehabilitation techniques, Ms. Stewart, the former World Champion of reusing household materials, suggested that first-time offenders could be coated with glitter and glued into holiday wreaths.
Asked if such an answer did not betray Stewart's famed gulf between her adroitness at handling home crafts projects and her complete inability to get along with human beings, a spokesman denied any such gulf existed. "She was clearly joking," said a spokesman. "She would never use a hot glue gun on a real person, unless she were trapped in the shower room by one of the biker chicks."
Still, Stewart's repeated reference to "recycling" first time offenders and "creating a beautiful mosaic of the pieces of their shattered lives" has led some to be concerned that her definition of rehabilitation may be flawed.
"We absolutely agree that the federal sentencing guidelines need to be reformed," said one law professor, "but we're a little concerned that her recipe for a new life contains not just 'the yeast of self esteem' and the 'flour of hard work' but also 'a cup and a half of rum to make life bearable' and a 'thorough punching down at the first sign of rising.'" Still, it is the instruction to "stab repeatedly with a fork to know when the Muffin of reform is done" that most concerns advocates for prisoners.
Plans are already underway to include a convict reform segment on Stewart's TV show after release, which will feature Martha making over the career and criminal history of one selected convict each week. Activities will include dress and makeup hints for job interviews, using craftworks acid to remove fingerprints from fingers, and showing participants how a soldering iron and some simple molds can be used to change those few crucial digits on a "found" credit card.
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