Contrary to rumors circulating last week, Jamaican crime Don Christopher “Dudus” Coke has not been released from prison. However, the United States Bureau of Prisons (USBP) has confirmed he was transferred from a maximum-security prison in South Carolina on March 7 to the low-security Fort Dix Federal Correctional Institution for men in New Jersey.
At Fort Dix, inmates have more privileges and do not have to contend with bars and locked cages in maximum security lock-ups.
The USBP did not give reasons why Coke was transferred from the maximum-security prison, but Butch Lawford, a former Miami correctional officer told National Weekly, “When a prisoner is moved from a maximum to a low-security institution it is usually because that prisoner has been exercising good behavior. In a low-security institution the prisoner has much more liberties and privileges. Institutions like Fort Dix are more like secured camps.”
The Fort Dix website describes it as fitted with community units without “bars, or locks on rooms,” where inmates are expected to display “a high degree of responsibility.”
Indications are the institution provides services “required by policy in a consistent, humane, and a reasonable manner, treats inmates with courtesy while inmates are expected to treat staff likewise. It maintains a high level of sanitation and expects inmates to keep it that way.”
The privileges inmates enjoy include access to TV from 11:00 am to 11:30 pm on weekdays, and to 2:00 am on weekends. Also, 300 minutes of monthly paid telephone calls, with each call being 15 minutes maximum; personal lockers in inmate rooms, use of microwave in the community units, and wake-up call at 6:00 am unlike 4 or 5:00 am in more secured institutions.
Fort Dix has an honor system, where prisoners with good behavior can enjoy enhanced privileges including access to TV from 6:00 am.
The facility currently has a population of 4,250 inmates, with an average age of 41 years. It is indicative that Coke could be released before his sentence terminates in July, 2030, as the average time served by inmates is 11 years, which would take Coke until March, 2028.
Coke was extradited from Jamaica to the US in May 2010. Preceding his extradition, Jamaican law enforcement attempted to apprehend him in the West Kingston community of Tivoli Gardens, which he ran with an iron grip.
Some 70 individuals were killed as residents resisted the incursion.
In 2012, Coke pled guilty to drugs and firearm charges in New York federal court, and was sentenced to 23 years. Since his sentencing, Coke served time at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Brooklyn, New York, then the Edgefield FCI located on the South Carolina/Georgia border.