Susan McDougal says she wants Martha Stewart to know there's no such thing as "Club Fed."
McDougal, a former business partner of former President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary Rodham Clinton, spent nearly two years in federal prisons after she was indicted by the Whitewater grand jury on fraud and conspiracy charges.
She says the three federal prisons she spent time in were hard, cold and frightening
"In federal prison, there's not a private place to be," McDougal said on ABCNEWS' Good Morning America. "There's not a soft place to sit. I remember thinking, 'is everything in the world concrete?'"
Stewart, who was found guilty of one count of conspiracy, two counts of making false statements and one count of obstruction of agency proceedings last week, could spend time in a federal prison too. Although each one of the counts against her carries a possible prison term of five years and a $250,000 fine, legal analysts expect jail time to be closer to one to two years.
Stewart could very well end up at the federal prison in Danbury, Conn., the same jail that housed millionaire Leona Helmsley for tax-related crimes. The prison is only 22 miles from Stewart's picture-perfect estate in Westport — but it might as well be a million miles away.
Former inmate Karen Bond says the three years she spent in a federal prison for securities fraud were nothing like anything she could have imagined.
"I had bought into the media's "Club Fed" myth," Bond said. "I still had a belief in justice, apple pie and the whole bit and wow, it was a train wreck," she said. "I was assaulted by a prisoner. My shoulder was fractured. I had a concussion. I pretty much was halfway beaten to death," Bond said.
Stewart, the very personification of the good life, will likely be facing a lifestyle change so radical, it may well border on culture shock.
If she serves time, Stewart would no longer be in control. Like all federal prisoners, she would have to ask permission to go to the bathroom and all of her phone calls would be monitored, except for those with her attorneys.
Strip searches after visits with family are also routine.
Stewart would be forced to live in a supervised dorm setting, sharing an 8-by-12-foot sleeping cubicle with another inmate.
McDougal says inmates would likely want to befriend Stewart.
"They are going to want to know Martha Stewart because they'll do anything for her to get the money," McDougal said.
The lights in federal prisons go on at 6 a.m. sharp each day. Prisoners are given 30 minutes to shower with other inmates and to dress in the standard prison-issue attire.
The work day begins at 7:30, and bears little resemblance to the one Stewart currently knows. Prisoners work seven to eight hours a day and typically earn 11 cents to 32 cents an hour.
Her potential jobs would include cutting grass, picking up garbage, cleaning bathrooms, mopping floors, washing dishes and serving food.
As for the food, the dinners don't resemble her fancy dishes. It's mass produced and bland.
McDougal says the lifestyle changes are difficult to handle, but she says the emotional adjustments one has to make are the most challenging part of prison.
"The sadness is overwhelming. The depression in that place is overwhelming," McDougal said.
However, if Stewart is imprisoned, she may find some comfort in the supervised recreation period, which includes time for arts and crafts.