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Martha: Prison food is lousy
Martha Stewart tells fans she's 'fine'; busy cleaning, raking leaves, exercising
December 22, 2004: 2:42 PM EST

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Martha Stewart, who is nearly halfway done with a five-month prison sentence, delivered a holiday greeting Wednesday from her minimum-security camp in West Virginia.

In a note to fans posted on her personal Web site, Stewart, 63, said she is doing "fine" and spending her idle time exercising, thinking about the future, writing and trying "to not eat the bad food." She didn't elaborate on what she finds particularly distasteful about prison cuisine.

People magazine reported this month that Stewart has dropped 10 lbs. since her prison sentence began in October. She has done some cooking in prison, including making her crab-apple jelly, but a source told the magazine the prison store contains too few ingredients.

Stewart has been incarcerated in a federal women's prison camp in Alderson, W.Va for committing conspiracy and obstructing justice during a government investigation of her late 2001 sale of ImClone System (up $0.03 to $44.41, Research) stock.

Upon her release in early March, Stewart will spend another five months confined to her home. In an effort to clear her name, she is appealing her conviction.

While prison life has been making Stewart leaner, her net worth has been bulking up thanks to a surging stock price at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Stewart last week sold $8 million worth of shares in Martha Stewart Living (up $0.68 to $27.92, Research), the company she founded and built into a mini-retail and media empire.

In her online missive Wednesday, Stewart said her official prison job has been cleaning, including washing, scrubbing, sweeping, vacuuming, raking leaves, and much more.

"But like everyone else here," she wrote, "I would rather be doing all of this in my own home, and not here -- away from family and friends."

On top of personal details about prison life, Stewart wrote generally about her 1,200 fellow inmates and the criminal justice system. She called for reforms in sentencing guidelines and prison terms for nonviolent first-time offenders and "those involved in drug-taking."

According to People, Stewart celebrated Thanksgiving with a convicted cocaine dealer.

Stewart, in her holiday greeting, said a rehabilitation center would be a more appropriate forum for first-time offenders. In prison, she wrote, "there is no real help, no real program to rehabilitate, no programs to educate, no way to be prepared for life 'out there' where each person will ultimately find herself, many with no skills and no preparation for living."  Top of page

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