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Crundwell assigned prison

Minnesota women’s facility closest to her boyfriend in Beloit

DIXON – One pair of earrings. A watch. One framed photo. Ten books.

Those are about all the possessions permitted Rita Crundwell, now that she's been transferred to the minimum-security Federal Correctional Institution for women in Waseca, Minn.

Crundwell likely went through an orientation process Monday, her first day, and will be given a job within the first 2 weeks, said Anne Cummins, public information officer for the prison. She cannot comment on specific inmates, she said.

After her Feb. 14 sentencing, Crundwell was housed at the Boone County Jail before she was transferred in early May to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago, a temporary stop for federal prisoners waiting for a permanent assignment.

The former Dixon comptroller, who stole nearly $54 million from the city over two decades, was sentenced to 19 years, 7 months in prison for wire fraud. She must serve at least 85 percent – about 16 1/2 years.

The federal Bureau of Prisons tries to place an inmate at a facility within 500 miles of where she will be released once the sentence has been served, said Chris Burke, a spokesman with the agency.

At her request, U.S District Judge Philip Reinhard recommended a federal prison close to Beloit, Wis., where Crundwell's longtime boyfriend, Jim McKillips, lives. At 310 miles away, Waseca is the closest low-security federal prison for women. It is in southern Minnesota, 75 miles south of Minneapolis along Interstate 35.

Waseca, which houses from 1,075 to 1,100 inmates, also is home to Catherine Greig, who is serving 8 years for helping infamous Boston mobster James "Whitey" Bulger evade capture for 16 years.

Waseca has an open housing setting, meaning Crundwell will not be behind bars, Cummins said. She will sleep in barracks similar to that of the military, with about 20 other women.

According to the prison handbook, wake-up is at 6 a.m. Work hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Inmates are allowed to wear a plain wedding band and a pair of earrings, no stones or engravings. They can have a watch and a "Walkman-type radio" with headphones.

Crundwell may have up to 10 books on her shelf and one framed photograph.

Visiting hours are from 4:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Fridays, and from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and federal holidays.

Inmate counts are done at least six times a day, the handbook says. 

Crundwell has a March 5, 2030 release date. She has appealed her sentence; her attorney's argument is due July 10.

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