Bernie Madoff's Lawyer Says the Inmate Won't Attend His Son's Funeral

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Bernie Madoff will not attend his son's funeral and will instead hold a private service from behind bars, according to his lawyer.

"Mr. Madoff will not be attending the funeral out of consideration for his daughter-in-law and two grandchildren's privacy," said Madoff's lawyer, Ira Sorkin. "He will be conducting a private service on his own where he is now."

The confirmation that Madoff would be absent from his son's burial came after debate over whether the Bureau of Prisons would allow him a furlough to begin with.

Sorkin declined to comment on whether Madoff had asked to attend the funeral.

Madoff is currently serving a 150-year sentence at the Butner Federal Correctional Complex in North Carolina.

Herb Hoelter, a prison consultant who advised Madoff prior to his placement at Butner, told ABC News that it was unlikely prison officials would allow Madoff to attend if he wanted to: "They will probably not allow it in this case."

Mark Madoff, 46, hanged himself at his downtown Manhattan apartment Saturday with a dog's leash. His two-year-old son was sleeping in a nearby room.

The suicide was timed to the two-year anniversary of his father's arrest, almost the hour.

Madoff's son had been struggling in the wake of his father's conviction, but lawyers continue to say Madoff had no worries about any possible criminal charges despite an ongoing investigation.

According to Hoelter, the security risk to Madoff combined with the Bureau of Prison's media-shy reputation would have made Madoff's case to attend the funeral an uphill battle.

"The B.O.P. will say that it would create too much of a furor," said Hoelter. "That it would create too much turmoil if he were allowed to go."

Ed Ross, the spokesman for the Bureau of Prisons, declined to comment on how Madoff learned of his son's death. He said the department also does not comment on inmate's requests for furloughs.

If Madoff wanted to attend the funeral, Ross said he would have to request permission through his correctional counselor. That request would then be sent to the associate warden, then on to the warden who would make the final determination.

Butner's inmate handbook outlines the prison's policy on inmates leaving for events such as funerals or to visit family members who are on their deathbeds.

"A furlough is an authorized absence from an institution by an inmate who is not under escort of a staff member, a U.S. Marshal, other Federal or State Agent," reads the handbook. "Furloughs are a privilege, not a right, and are only granted when clearly in the public interest, and for the furtherance of a legitimate correctional goal."

Policy states that inmates with a history of violence will not be granted furloughs. Only those inmates who have "community custody" and have "two years or less from their anticipated release date," will be eligible.

Madoff, 72, is not in community custody at his medium-security prison. His every move is monitored. Also, Madoff still has more than 148 years left on his sentence. His projected release date, according to the BOP, is November 2139.

John Webster, the managing director of the National Prison and Sentencing Consultants Inc., said that the political fallout that would occur if Madoff had been allowed to travel to the funeral is also likely to influence the warden's decision.

"In this case, the PR would be pretty astounding," said Webster. "There is a risk to Madoff, in my opinion, and there will be a ton of press and other people, some of whom might want to hurt him."

"The security would be too high," he added.

Prison policy states that if the risk to the inmate or to prison staff is considered too great, the furlough should not be granted.

"There are occasions when an escorted trip is not approved, even when all policy required conditions have been met, based on a determination that the perceived danger to Bureau of Prisons staff and inmate during the proposed visit is too great, or the security concerns about the individual inmate outweigh the need to authorize the visit," according to the handbook.

Webster said that while some prisoners he has organized furloughs for have been escorted by one or two federal U.S. Marshalls, Madoff would likely need several, which would add to the expense of the trip.

Prison policy would have required Madoff to pay for the expense of the custody, transportation and any accommodations past the first eight hours of the trip.

"This would be a situation where Madoff would be cuffed at all times," said Webster.

"But in the end, the last thing the BOP wants is for something to happen to Madoff," said Webster. "The Bureau of Prisons and the U.S. Marshals would be highly embarrassed if anything happened to such a high-profile inmate during a furlough."

ABC News' Aaron Katersky contributed to this report.