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As clemency from Trump remains a possibility, disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich goes for a jog

Gregory Pratt and Brian Cassella, Chicago Tribune on

Published in News & Features

Throughout the day, some prairie dogs forage around the grounds while others stand watch just behind U.S. government signs declaring "No Trespassing."

With the sun rising over Colorado's mountains behind them, inmates stepped outside Saturday for their morning routines.

Some did pullups on an exercise bar. Others drank coffee on the porch. Shirtless prisoners walked along the track. Picnic tables on the grounds give the prisoners a place to sit and talk.

Right next to the prison camp is Foothills Golf Course, where longtime resident Bruce Engel works. The prison camp is close enough that inmates walking the grounds can shout at the golfers, Engel said, noting that inmates sometimes heckle women walking past.

"From that distance, everybody's attractive," Engel joked.

As 56-year-old pension consultant Matt Poppe walked up to the third hole at Foothills, inmates walked around a running track next to the fairgrounds and shouted something about his putt.


"There's enough chatter if you walk by this part of the golf course, guys giving you 'help,'" Poppe said, laughing.

Asked if Blagojevich has ever heckled him, Poppe said, "I honestly don't know. I don't look at them that carefully."

In a 2017 interview with Chicago magazine, the former governor talked about taking long runs and sitting in the camp's tub afterward. The magazine also reported that inmates at the camp "have been known to venture off" to a Walmart down the road to buy cigarettes.

Blagojevich in that 2017 interview contrasted his time leading Illinois with his prison job cleaning up two hallways.


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