What Charles Barkley's Time In Prison Was Really Like

Celebrities: They're just like us! Or not, as may be the case regarding the fair and equal U.S. justice system. Per TMZ Sports, Charles Barkley was busted for a suspected DUI after running an Arizona stop light in the early hours of December 31, 2008. According to BET, Barkley confessed to the officers who pulled him over that he was in a hurry because he was on his way to receive oral sex. Sadly for the NBA star, BJ excuses don't cut it with the cops in Arizona, which tops the list of U.S. states with the strictest DUI laws.

Barkley was apprehended and then released after giving a blood sample. He (wisely) proceeded to head for his triple-X rendezvous via taxi. The Smoking Gun reports Barkley's blood alcohol content was "nearly twice the legal limit of .08 percent."

According to TMZ, he pleaded guilty to two counts of DUI and running a stop sign. The judge fined him $2,000 and sentenced him to 10 days in the Arizona Tent City Jail. Barkley's time would be halved if he partook in an alcohol education program. There was no mention of an unlicensed gun APD officers claimed they discovered in Barkley's car. Per The Mercury News, the athlete was released after just three days. He was driven out of the facility sometime before 8 a.m. to avoid unwanted press attention or pesky paparazzi. So, what was Charles Barkley's time in prison actually like?

Charles Barkley is a prison frequent flier

As it turns out, Charles Barkley is a prison frequent flier. Per The Smoking Gun, the NBA Hall of Famer was arrested by Florida cops in 1997 and charged with aggravated battery and resisting arrest. Barkley was apprehended for throwing a man, who was half his (substantial) size, through a glass window. "He lifted that kid and flung him like he was a toy and threw him into the window," an eyewitness told The Sports Rush. Another onlooker claimed Barkley told his victim as he lay bleeding out on the street, "For all I care, you can lay there and die."

Barkley's legal eagles worked their magic, though. According to Hornsby Law Firm, aggravated battery is "a second degree felony and punishable by up to 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation, and a $10,000 fine." It looks like Barkley had a hotline to OJ Simpson's dream team, though. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest. The baller was sent to the slammer, ordered to carry out community service, hand over $320 to the court in fines, and post a $6,000 bond.

Barkley served five hours of hard time in an Orange County lockup before catching the chain back to his mansion — which didn't allow him enough time to even eyeball a dinner and a show while sampling the chow. Meanwhile, per The Smoking Gun, Barkley was also arrested in 1992 for allegedly assaulting a Milwaukee man. But he was ultimately acquitted.

Charles Barkley played the juice card in prison

Following his DUI conviction, Charles Barkley was sentenced to 10 days at Arizona's Tent City Jail. Per The Guardian, the controversial penitentiary was finally closed in 2017 following complaints about human rights abuses, severe overcrowding, and dangerous living conditions. Several former inmates filed lawsuits, and even the justice department questioned Sheriff Joe Arpaio's racial profiling of Latino prisoners. Arpaio once boasted his facilities were like "concentration camps." When asked about his verbiage, Arpaio was not phased. "Even if it was a concentration camp, what difference does it make? I still survived," he said. "I still kept getting re-elected."

Inmates were forced to wear pink underwear under their black and white striped jumpsuits so they didn't steal it. Even prisoners who'd been sentenced for misdemeanor and minor crimes were forced to sleep several men high in bunk beds grounded on dry gravel under the tarp. In summer, the scorching Arizona heat could reach more than 130 degrees, and there was no air-conditioning in the tents.

However, given Barkley's fame and ability to speak out and be listened to, it's hardly surprising that he wasn't subjected to inhumane and immoral treatment like other voiceless inmates. In fact, according to CBS8, Barkley's skid-bid involved him kicking back in his own private tent and even having his slop and ramen noodles delivered to him via room service.

Charles Barkley's living it large post-prison

After surviving on prison slop and ramen noodles while serving his three days inside, the former NBA player must have gone on a serious eating binge. That's because Charles Barkley announced his plans to shed weight at a fat farm for six weeks. (now that is serving some serious time). "Listen, I am embarrassed about how fat I have become," he said. "I've become lazy. Number one, I'm not healthy. I'm not healthy. Y'all not going to see me. I've got to come back for the [NBA] awards show. But I'm taking the next six weeks to get my fat a** in shape."

Lately, Barkley's become better known for his eyebrow-raising comments about politics than for his sports commentary or brawl-filled past. He's known to use his public platform to discuss his thoughts on racial division and policing. Although, in the same breath, Barkley claimed on CNBC's Power Lunch that the sports world should be kept separate from politics and racist ideologies. "We need police reform, we need prison reform," Barkley said. "My concern is turning this into a circus instead of trying to do some good stuff."

Ever controversial, Barkley has also turned heads with his strong vaccine comments. Per CNBC, the retired pro said that he believes all NBA players should be forced to be vaccinated and that anybody who isn't is "an a**hole."