This Is What Larry Nassar's Prison Life Is Really Like

The following article includes mentions of sexual abuse.

Disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar, who sexually abused more than 500 women and girl gymnasts, including several Olympians, hadn't yet begun to serve his 40- to 175-year state sentence when he was assaulted in federal prison on July 9, 2023 in Florida, per the AP. At that time, Nassar was serving a 60-year federal prison sentence for child pornography, according to CNN. Meanwhile, CNN also reports that Nassar failed to adequately pay the court-ordered restitution to his abuse victims.

Nassar began serving his federal sentence in December 2017 after pleading guilty to three counts of child pornography earlier in the year. He has been in federal custody since his December 2016 arrest, per USA Today. After he was sentenced to federal prison, the Lansing State Journal reported that Nassar's attorney said he was "helping fellow inmates and taking Bible classes" while in custody. Nassar also told a judge in 2017 that he plans to use his sentence to "better" himself.

Attacks on Larry Nassar

Larry Nassar's 2023 stabbing was the second of two attacks against him while incarcerated. The first happened in 2018 when he was held at the United States Penitentiary in Tucson, Arizona when he was assaulted by a fellow inmate after prison officials released him into the general population. Nassar's lawyers at the time claimed the attack was spurred on by the remarks of Michigan Judge Rosemarie Aquilina. Per NPR, during Nassar's sentencing on the sexual assault charges, Aquilina called him a "monster" and said that if the Constitution allowed it, she would let someone "do to him what he did to others." Nassar was sentenced to federal prison in Michigan but then transferred to Arizona, the only high-security federal prison facility with a sex-offender-management program, AZ Central reports.

After the Arizona attack, Nassar was held for a time at Oklahoma City's Federal Transfer Center before he was finally transferred to the Coleman II U.S. Penitentiary in Sumterville, Florida, according to The Washington Post. Coleman II is located about 50 miles northwest of Orlando and is made up of six two-story buildings, with 128 cells in each. In the 2023 assault, Nassar was stabbed 10 times in the neck, back, and chest. The Florida facility holds 1,400 inmates total, all male, and was reportedly understaffed when Nassar was attacked (via PrisonPro). Some 1,200 inmates were imprisoned at the prison amid the incident (per FOX 35 Orlando).

Paying minimal restitution to victims

In Larry Nassar's federal case, the court ordered him to pay restitution totaling nearly $60,000. At one point, Nassar had more than $12,000 in his prison account but was only paying about $8 a month in restitution. In August 2021, a federal judge ordered the money in Nassar's account — which at the time was around $2,000 — confiscated and put toward his outstanding restitution, according to CNN

At one time, Nassar had nearly $13,000 in his prison account. It was later discovered he was not making his minimum restitution payment to abuse victims, and more than $10,000 was unaccounted for. "The notion that anybody in the Justice Department would let this happen is just revolting," John Manly, a lawyer for many of Nassar's victims, said (per CNN). "The timing of this, with my client being unable to compete because of what happened to her, couldn't be more upsetting." He added: "Something is completely broken and needs to be fixed."

Coleman II is a 'special-needs' prison, according to a former inmate

In 2016, Nate Lindell, a former inmate at Coleman II, offered some insight into what life might be like for Nassar at the correctional site via The Marshall Project. The inmate described Coleman II as "a so-called special-needs prison — a 'safe' facility where informants, former cops, ex-gang members, check-ins (prisoners who intentionally put themselves in solitary confinement to be safe), homosexuals and sex offenders can all, supposedly, walk the yard freely. At regular BOP [Federal Bureau of Prisons] lockups, these types of men are in danger of being beaten, stabbed, or strangled to death."

Should Nassar live to see the end of his 60-year sentence for child pornography in 2069, he would then return to Michigan to begin serving his up to 175-year state prison sentence on seven counts of criminal sexual conduct. Nassar is unlikely to actually serve that state sentence since the 59-year-old is serving the 60-year federal sentence first.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).