On Friday, actress Felicity Huffman walked free from federal prison in Northern California, and a bit earlier than expected.
A brief stay
Huffman began the decreed 14-day sentence on October 15 at the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, California, a low security prison with 1,235 female inmates. She was released on October 25, the 11th day of her sentence.
Huffman, 56, is a celebrated film and television actress and winner of a Primetime Emmy Award, Golden Globe Award and three Screen Actors Guild Awards.
In May of this year, the Desperate Housewives actress paid $15,000 to obtain a better SAT score, 400 points higher than the original, for her daughter.
“I take full responsibility for my actions and as a first step for making amends for my crime. I will accept whatever punishment you deem appropriate,” Huffman said in her trial as noted by NBC News, after pleading guilty to mail fraud and honest services fraud.
Universities involved in the scandal included Ivy League giants such as Yale, Georgetown, Stanford and the University of Southern California.
Huffman claimed that her daughter, Sophia, was unaware of the scandal. Sophia’s chosen university revoked her acceptance after news of the scheme was released.
The college cheating scandal charged 50 other people, 35 of which were parents. One of those parents was actress Lori Loughlin, who faced additional charges during her trail, although unlike Huffman, Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, pleaded not guilty. Eleven parents in the case pleaded guilty.
U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani ordered Huffman, an Oscar nominee and wife to actor William H. Macy, to pay a $30,000 fine as well as to complete 250 hours of community service. She will now be on one year of supervised release.
Out early, with special privileges
Huffman’s release was two days earlier than her scheduled release date on Sunday, which is considered normal when not enough staff is available on weekends, according to the Mercury News report and Bureau of Prisons policy. Also noted in the report, Huffman’s sentence was shortened to 13 days due to her one day spent in federal custody in March.
Prison consultant and former inmate Larry Levine via Inside Edition strongly suggested that Huffman enjoyed special privileges while in prison, such as an approved family visit in two days — a process which typically takes 90 days. Images and videos released showed Huffman walking unaccompanied by security through the prison parking lot to meet her visitors.
She also reportedly received special treatment in the food line, heading straight to the front each time. Huffman’s earlier than scheduled release seems to be just one more drop in the bucket.
Home, sweet home
Huffman was the first parent in the college admissions cheating scandal to serve time in prison.
A photo released by Daily Mail shows Huffman at Burbank airport, Macy by her side, just hours after her prison release. Huffman and Macy reportedly flew out of the Bay Area on an Alaska Airlines flight to Burbank, landing at approximately 12:00 pm. In the photo, Huffman is seen wearing casual clothing and looking down at something that her husband is holding.
Huffman resides in the Los Angeles area with her family.