'Professor' Black to teach fellow inmates

Stephen Foley
Sunday 24 February 2008 01:00
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Conrad Black, the disgraced newspaper baron, is fighting a final battle to stay out of jail, even as he and his family begin preparations for his six and a half-year stretch at a low-security Florida prison.

The peer, whose former ownership of The Daily Telegraph gave him the keys to the British establishment, is consoling himself with hopes for an "elite" job teaching other prisoners, while his wife, the columnist Barbara Amiel, will be combing her extensive wardrobe for outfits that meet strict requirements set out in a 17-page booklet of dos and don'ts for visits.

The couple are waiting to hear if a judge has granted Black a temporary reprieve, who has been told to report to jail on 3 March after being found guilty on three counts of defrauding outside investors in his media company, and one count of obstructing justice. He has asked to remain free on a bond while planning his appeal, but that ruling may not come until after 3 March.

It is understood that Black has been granted his request to be assigned to low-security Coleman correctional facility, 50 miles north-west of Orlando. Despite its reputation as one of the least severe of low-security prisons, visits are strictly limited under a points system that permits up to three weekend or nine weekday visits a month.

Such visits are likely to be a particular indignity for Lady Black, a right-wing journalist and formerly a formidable figure in high society. A fierce list of rules for visitors at Coleman includes a ban on "sleeveless garments, sweat pants, sweat shirts, sun dresses, leotards, wrap-around skirts, crop tops, low-cut blouses or low-cut dresses, low-cut jeans or low-cut shirts, halter tops, bathing suits or backless tops, hats, caps, headbands or headscarves, and Spandex pants."

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