Khabibulin in for 'terrible' time at jail: Ex-inmate

Oilers goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin during practice at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., Jan. 31,...

Oilers goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin during practice at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., Jan. 31, 2011. (AMBER BRACKEN/QMI Agency)

MICHELLE THOMPSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:52 PM ET

EDMONTON - Let’s hope Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin likes ant infestations, rotting oranges, and the colour pink.

Those are the sorts of things he’ll be in for once he starts his 30-day sentence Saturday at an infamous Phoenix, Ariz., jail, said an ex-inmate.

“The food is terrible,” said 34-year-old Koren Conine.

“It’s not even edible — you wouldn’t even feed it to your dog.”

Conine added there is a dog crematorium near the tent city where Khabibulin will be staying.

“It’s disgusting,” she said.

“It smells like death in there. It’s terrible.”

Khabibulin, 38, heads to Arizona’s Tent City jail Saturday to begin a 30-day sentence for extreme DUI.

The charge stemmed from a Feb. 8, 2010, incident in which Scottsdale police reportedly clocked the Ukraine native doing 70 mph in a 40 mph zone.

A test showed his blood alcohol content was in the “extreme” category at the time, which has a range of .15 to .199.

Conine recently served a six-month sentence in Tent City for the same misdemeanour.

She was released last June 13.

Both Conine and Khabibulin will have served a work-release, which means inmates stay at Tent City for the first two days, before being allowed out on a 12-hour day pass during weekdays.

Prisoners are required to spend their weekends in jail.

When he checks into Tent City, Khabibulin will have to leave his cell phone at the door, and cap his wallet contents at $40, Conine said.

He’ll be able to spend that money on things like vending machine snacks.

And Conine said packaged candy is probably the highest quality food Khabibulin should expect within the jail.

Inmates are fed rotting oranges and peanut butter sandwiches for breakfast each morning.

The peanut butter is made at the jail and loaded with oil, while the bread it’s wedged between is triple-rye so that the jail can meet daily caloric requirements, Conine said.

“I actually had ants in mine,” she said.

“The place is infested with roaches and ants — especially on the guy’s side.”

For dinner, inmates are fed flavourless mashed potatoes, refried beans, and spinach, Conine said.

Things get even worse after dinner.

That’s when inmates head to bed on a thin mattress, where the temperatures in the tent often swell to 49 C, said Conine.

“There’s no AC — there’s a fan that blows hot air,” she said. “They give you a blanket and a sheet. You’re lucky if you get a sheet.”

The Moscano Jail is run by the meanest sheriff in North America, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who’s known for making life terrible for prisoners.

He snatches away all that’s sacred to prisoners — including cigarettes, coffee, and magazines — and uses numerous tools to humiliate them.

That includes forcing the male inmates to wear pink, right down to their underpants.

But Khabibulin may get a pass on that last point, Conine said, adding most day-release prisoners are allowed to wear street clothes.

The netminder won’t be the first celebrity to visit the jail.

Boxing champ Mike Tyson, rapper DMX, and NBA star Charles Barkley have all done stints there.

You best follow the rules, netminder!

If he doesn’t follow Sheriff Joe’s rules, Khabibulin will be heading to the penalty box.

That’s how an infamous jail watchdog put it Thursday while preparing for the Oilers goalie’s Saturday arrival.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio — notorious for his tough-on-crime antics — oversees the Tent City jailhouse where Khabibulin will serve half his 30-day DIU sentence.

And Arpaio hinted there may not be room for two celebrities at the Maricopa County jailhouse.

“We have postcards there with my picture on it that they mail out,” Arpaio said.

“When I go in with a celebrity, they want his autograph and not mine.”

Khabibulin will need to follow Arpaio’s strict rules.

That means no beard, no cell phone, and no returning from his day releases drunk.

Because he received a work-release sentence, Khabibulin won’t have to wear the jail’s famous pink outfits unless he breaks the rules.

And if he does, he’ll be headed for the “penalty box,” the sheriff said.

But if Khabibulin behaves well, he may be in for a treat.

“Maybe this guy can play on our sheriffs’ hockey team,” Arpaio said.

“I can make him a special deputy.”

michelle.thompson@sunmedia.ca

@SunMichelleT


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