On Thursday former Illinois Governor Rod "Blago" Blagoevich will swap his jogging suit for a jumpsuit as he heads to a federal pen in Colorado for the next 14 years.
Blago is guilty of "conspiring" to sell Barack Obama's senate seat. I use the term "conspiring" loosely because three years and two trials have proven that, as a criminal mastermind, Blago is as dimwitted as Jerry Lundegaard in Fargo.
So off he goes to a two person cell, doing manual labor for 40 cents an hour.
Some have compared Blogo's saga to a Shakespearean tragedy.
Or, soon, an episode of Lockup Raw on MSNBC.
For the unfamiliar, Lockup is a look behind the walls of various prisons throughout the country. It's just like all of the other reality shows except that it's actually real.
Each episode provides a harsh view of life behind bars, particularly for guys like me who, fortunately, have never served time and enjoy the perspective from my couch with a bowl of popcorn.
Will Blago ever end up on an episode of Lockup Raw?
How about a "very special episode" called Lockup Raw - Illinois Pol Edition.
It could feature Blago along with former Illinois Governor George Ryan, former Chicago Alderman Ed Vrdolyk and the countless others who have done time. The "dishonor roll" is extensive, with nearly 80 Illinois politicians convicted since 1972.
I picture a hardened Blago, six years or so into his term, bare chested and puffed up from hundreds of push ups per day, his glistening arms covered with tattoos, strolling through the prison yard.
One thing I can't see is a shaved head. Then again, without pumping up he may end up dating an incredible bulk who insists on calling him Wilma.
The Blago saga is sad. Sad for the people of Illinois and sad for the wife and two girls he leaves behind, girls who will be women by the time he is released.
Sad and costly. Besides diminished public trust, estimates are that the cost of putting Blago behind bars exceeds $10 million.
So how do we avoid costly political prosecutions?
I have an answer.
Lets convert the Illinois Capitol Building to a minimum security prison.
I figure since most Illinois pols are going down for something this is a preemptive strike against wasteful spending. With the slogan "From the State House to the Big House," the new prison would provide significant infrastructure and employment savings.
For one thing, there's no need for separate chambers or parties. In Illinois corruption is a bipartisan sport, and the General Assembly can be easily converted into a huge dorm. In the true spirit of a "work camp," our trusted servants can roll out of bed and walk to their desks.
We will also save on uniforms (suits are fine) and mug shots (reuse yard signs and billboards) and can convert legislative district numbers to inmate I.D. numbers.
Lobbyists can visit weekly, by phone while looking through plexiglass. I realize it may be difficult to shove sirloin and foie gras through the air holes but we all need to sacrifice.
And at the swearing in ceremony Rod Blagojevich, a big Elvis fan, could sing "Jailhouse Rock" via satellite.
That my friends, in Blago's own words when describing the coveted senate seat, would be "f*cking golden."