What prison life will look like for Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes [Video]

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Thermos founder Elizabeth Holmes is expected to begin serving her 11-year sentence at 2 pm today inside a minimum-security, female-only federal prison camp in Bryan, Texas. What will her new life look like?

Days start early at FPC Bryan, which is located about 100 miles northwest of Holmes’ hometown of Houston.

Holmes, 39, has to wake up by 6 am and then report to work after she has breakfast, which starts at 6:30 am. Her attire most days will be a combination of khaki shirts and pants. Pay rates for her work will range from $0.12 to $1.15 per hour.

There will be no access to the internet, but inmates can text with friends and family via a prison-run network. Her phone calls can last no longer than 15 minutes, with the exception of video calls that are permitted up to 25 minutes.

Entertainment is available, but it’s limited. She can watch TV only during non-working hours. Each inmate also gets one approved radio or MP3 player. Smoking is not allowed.

FILE - Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes leaves federal court in San Jose, Calif., March 17, 2023. Holmes has asked a federal judge, Wednesday, May 17, 2023, to allow her to remain free through the Memorial Day weekend before surrendering to authorities on May 30, to begin her more than 11-year prison sentence for defrauding investors in a blood-testing scam.  (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

Former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes, pictured here leaving federal court earlier this year, is scheduled to report to federal prison Tuesday. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

Holmes is surrendering to federal custody after being convicted last year on four felony counts of fraud and conspiracy by a jury that concluded the fallen Silicon Valley biotech entrepreneur lied to investors about the capabilities of her blood-testing company. A judge ruled that she should serve 11 years and three months in prison.

FPC Bryan, which sits on 37 acres and can hold up to 747 inmates, houses exclusively white-collar offenders for large amounts of convicted federal offenses such as wire fraud, securities fraud, banking fraud, insurance fraud and tax fraud, along with embezzlements.

They include former “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” star Jen Shah, who was sentenced to six and half years for fraud. The age of inmates between April 2022 and April 2023 ranged from 19 to 74 years old.

Mop the floor and take out the trash

All inmates of FPC are assigned to a housing unit, each of which has its own staff to assist inmates with case management, personal and family problems, goals, and release planning.

Up to four inmates share a dormitory-style room and are assigned separate secure lockers or storage areas. Inmates are responsible for keeping their areas clean. Beds must be made before reporting for work calls, each day.

Inmates are responsible for sweeping and mopping the floors of their rooms, and taking out their trash. Prison staff and counselors inspect rooms daily and publish individual ratings for each room’s appearance. Those ratings can be used to discipline inmates by sending untidy inmates to the back of the cafeteria line.

All inmates medically cleared for work must also maintain a regular job assignment.

Meals and clothes

The meals are served during the same times each day. Breakfast runs from 6:30 am to 7:15 am; lunch is 10:30 am to 11:30 am; and dinner is served from 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm.

Inmates have limited options on clothes. Mondays through Fridays between 7:30 am and 3:30 pm., inmates are required to wear prison-issued or commissary-offered khaki pants and khaki shirts. They are prohibited from wearing civilian clothing and must wear only items issued by the Bureau of Prisons or purchased in the prison’s commissary.

With the exception of religious headwear, all clothing offered for purchase in the commission is limited to the colors of pastel green, gray or white.

Authorized footwear includes one pair of work shoes, shower shoes, athletic or specialty shoes, slippers, and casual shoes.

During visitation, inmates are required to wear FPC’s designated khaki uniform, which includes khaki coats, buttoned shirts, and boots or shoes. Institution-labeled sweatshirts and boots purchased in the facility’s commission may be worn at those times.

Texting, television and shopping

There are ways to pass time away from work but there are also limitations for leisure time.

Inmates, for example, get no access to the Internet. Instead, the Bureau of Prisons limits inmates to a computer network known as Trust Fund Limited Inmate Computer System (TRULINCS) that allows inmates to access their prison bank account, an internal prison email, the law library, a prison bulletin board and a printer.

A separate text messaging system allows inmates to correspond with friends and family.

Inmates can take part in classes offered on business skills and foreign languages. Or they can also take part in organized and informal games, sports, physical fitness, table games, hobby crafts, music programs, intramural activities, social and cultural organizations. Movies are also available.

Televisions provided in each unit may be viewed only during established non-working hours, or at the discretion of prison staff.

Phone calls must last no longer than 15 minutes and can be made only outside of working hours, and between 6:00 am and 11:30 pm. Video calls are available for 25 minutes. Each inmate may possess one approved radio or MP3 player.

Shopping is allowed but only at an on-campus commissary that carries a limited list of toiletries, clothing, healthcare items, makeup, jewelry, office supplies and food.


With the exception of visits to meet with an inmate’s lawyers, or for certain families and other emergencies, visitors are permitted only on weekends from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, and on federal holidays from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm .

All non-family visitors must have been known to the inmate prior to incarceration, unless an exception is made by the prison warden.

Inmates are permitted to meet visitors only in designated indoor and outdoor visiting areas. A separate children’s center is provided for inmates to visit with their own children.

Alexis Keenan is a legal reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow Alexis on Twitter @alexiskweed.

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