Former Dance Moms star Abby Lee Miller knows from experience what actress Lori Loughlin‘s life will be like when she enters Souther California’s Victorville Federal Correctional Institution. Lori is due to report there on Nov. 19 to serve her two month prison sentence stemming from her involvement in the 2019 college admissions scandal. Abby herself did eight months out of a one year sentence in the same facility for bankruptcy fraud, getting released to a halfway house in March 2018. Abby Lee tells HollywoodLife.com in an EXCLUSIVE interview what Lori’s life will be like on the inside.
Abby thinks that Lori’s beloved Aunt Becky character from the iconic sitcom Full House will serve her well among inmates. “I think she’s going to be absolutely fine because her character on television is sweet and nice and she’s not — People don’t love to hate her like my character, like what I was on television,” she tell us, referring to the task master she was with young dance proteges. “People love to hate me, where she is this nice ray of sunshine and that’s what people think she is. Her crime offended everybody, but it didn’t really hurt anyone,” Abby explains
Unlike the expensive L.A. restaurants that Lori is accustomed to, the basic prison food is going to be quite a change. But Abby says that while it is presented in a terrible way, it isn’t completely horrible. “The women in the prison cook the food, so it can vary from day to day. There’s a menu that is nationwide. Every single federal prison on every single Wednesday is having a hamburger or cheeseburger. They’re on a grill. They’re fine. If somebody ethnic makes the food, whatever their ethnicity is kind of how the food is flavored,” Abby reveals.
“In Victorville, we would have taco Tuesday or whatever. It was like really spicy. Other times, it wasn’t. You get used to the food. The food itself is not bad. It’s the way it’s presented in the plastic tray and it’s slopped in there. If it was on china and it was presented with a spring of parsley and pretty, it would be fine. A lot of tater tots. I will never eat another tater tot again! Here’s another thing I’ll never eat again — Wheat bread!” she tells us.
Abby says the repetitiveness of life on the inside is what is a drag, as it is the same daily routine, telling us that “Every day is like Groundhog Day.” It starts with a 6am breakfast served that usually consists of oatmeal. She recommends getting to the commissary early while it is still hot. To make it a little tastier, Abby tells us that “they sell raisins in the commissary,” that inmates can purchase and add to their morning meal.
“And then at 10am, there’s a count. You’re up, you’re dressed and you’re in your uniform or whatever you do in the morning, and somebody comes in and they count you. They literally walk up and down the aisles and you stand right outside your little cubicle and you get counted,” she explains. Abby says that some of the inmates who are training for life skills on the outside then head to work on those jobs, like plumbing, welding and landscaping. But it isn’t required and if someone doesn’t work, they’re in free time until lunch is served.
The working inmates get to eat lunch at 10:30am, followed by the rest of the general population. But Abby warns that you need to eat what you are given because there is no taking food for later on in the day. “You eat and then they stand at the door when you leave to make sure that you’re not taking an apple or an orange or a banana or anything out of the commissary with you like a snack to eat later. You can’t take anything out,” she says.
Then it is more free time before dinner, which she said could happen anywhere between 4pm and 5:30pm, along with another inmate headcount prior to the meal. “After dinner, people are usually in the library, playing games, there’s some different programs that go on in the chapel or in the church,” Abby reveals, also adding that there are classes available.
“I used to take private Spanish lessons. There’s classes that used to go on like my real estate class and my finance class. They were taught by inmates. There’s many girls that need to try to get a GED,” she explains. “So that’s what happens in the evening and then come 8 o’clock, I was ready for TV because I’m a huge TV freak. Everybody wants to watch prison shows like Live PD and all of these shows.” She tells us there are two TV rooms for inmates, with one TV on a Spanish channel and another in English. News programs take precedent over other viewing options.
“I watched TV until lights out and sometimes lights out was 9/9:30. Sometimes it was 10,” she explains, but that, “Sometimes the guards wouldn’t care and you could watch TV until 2 in the morning. It was up to you. And then you went to bed. I usually went to my bunk and read. I read 150 books when I was there,” Abby tells us, which was one upside to prison life. She had two more pluses, as when she came out, “I had a great tan. I lost 127 pounds,” she shares.