Now that her exhaustive road to trial, followed by a tortured sentencing phase, has been completed after 2 1/2 years, the fate of Jodi Arias has been sealed. The convicted murderer has been spared the death penalty and will instead spend the rest of her natural life in prison with no possibility of parole. Unless she wins the appeal that is sure to be coming, Arias is looking at a long life behind bars for the murder of Travis Alexander, her ex-lover, in 2008.
After her sentence was handed down by Judge Sherry Stephens, Arias was transferred to her new home at Perryville Women’s Prison in Goodyear, and an updated booking photo of the convicted killer has been released. Unlike her first mugshot in which she smirked at the camera, later saying that she gave the half-smile because Alexander would have done the same in that situation, her new photo shows her without expression and sporting an orange prison uniform.
At first, she will be under maximum security. Each year, Arias will be evaluated to determine if she can be reclassed to a lower level of security within the prison.
She will be assigned a concrete cell measuring 12-feet-by-7-feet. Her new home will come equipped with a toilet, sink, bed and mattress. Her new digs will also come with two slivers of window through which daylight might be seen.
As a new inmate, Arias will spend as much as 23 hours each day locked inside of her cell. Although eventually she will be allowed entertainment in the form of a radio and/or television, for now her choices will be limited to writing and drawing. Although she will some day have additional ways to entertain herself, her concrete cell will never have air conditioning. She will have to rely on a swamp cooler for relief in her Arizona prison cell as she serves her sentence of life without parole.
If Arias shows good behavior, she will be allowed greater privileges. These will include the opportunity to participate in activities, being able to buy items from the prison’s store and having additional visitors. She will, however, be allowed to meet with her attorneys to discuss legal matters, which would include any appeals. Time with her lawyers will be allowed with few limitations.
Although a tell-all book by Arias would generate a great deal of money from those interested in true crime stories, according to Arizona law she is not allowed to earn any money from the sale of her story. Although the life facing Arias seems grim and desolate, she is considered lucky by some to have avoided Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Maricopa County Jails, which are notorious for harsh conditions and little, if any, privileges.
If the prosecution in the case had gotten their way, Arias would have been sentenced to death. Luck was on Arias’ side, as two consecutive juries could not come to a consensus to sentence Arias to death. The second jury, in fact, had been unanimous for the death penalty save for one lone juror who voted for a life sentence.
At her sentencing, Stephens said she believed that Arias had planned to kill Alexander and that the killing had been cruel, as the jury had ruled. The judge added that the victim’s family had suffered both emotionally and financially when Arias killed him. For that reason, Stephens opted to impose the harsher sentence, which gives Arias life in prison with no hope of release rather than a possibility of parole after 25 years.
By Jennifer Pfalz