With just a few weeks to go in his prison sentence for tax evasion, Richard Hatch, the first winner of the reality television show Survivor, has managed to grab the spotlight, yet again. This time Hatch has asked if he can finish his time confined to his sister’s home. Actually… he wants a do-over. Last spring he was allowed to go from prison to home confinement, but by his own actions he ended up back behind bars. Now with the help of the Massachusetts ACLU, he’s requesting to have the privilege of home confinement restored.
Here’s what happened:
After being sentenced to 51 months in prison on evasion of taxes on his $1 million Survivor prize, Hatch was serving the end of his sentence confined at his sister’s Newport, Rhode Island home. Then he went on the Today Show, to give what authorities are calling unauthorized media interviews.
A few hours later, police knocked on his sister’s door and escorted Hatch back to jail. Hatch claims this was done to retaliate against him for using the interview time to criticize the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
In reality, he did more than “criticize.” In the August 19th interview with Matt Lauer, he accused officials of convicting him for tax evasion, not because he was guilty, but because of his sexual orientation and arrogant behavior.
Lauer asked,” Are you saying to me that if you were heterosexual, you would not have gone to prison?”
“I didn’t mean to allude to it,” said Hatch. “I meant to state that definitively. I do believe that.”
Hatch went on to claim that the Federal Bureau of Prisons had silenced him for nearly four years before finally granting him permission to do the Today Show. That clip was not originally aired, but after the re-arrest the Today Show did a follow up that included Hatch’s controversial comments.
He’s been in sitting in the Barnstable County Jail in Bourne, Massachusetts ever since. With the help of the ACLU, he has gone back to court to ask to be returned to home confinement for the remainder of his sentence. Not only did Judge Nathaniel Gorton deny the request, but he also told prison officials that they could make Hatch stay in jail an additional nine days by stripping away his “good time.” That means he will remain in custody until October 16th, 2009.
Judge Gorton wrote: "The court finds that Hatch was, in fact, prohibited from contacting the media without prior authorization and, therefore, was not arbitrarily punished for doing so."
In response, ACLU spokesman Christopher Ott said:
"We understood that there might be valid security concerns when you're talking about a prison facility where you can't have the media coming in, but that's not the case when you're dealing with someone in home confinement."