What Julie Chrisley's Life In Prison Is Really Like

Some reality stars may think their celebrity status makes them untouchable, but we've seen time and again that no one is above the law. No matter how deep your pockets, or how many Instagram followers you have, an arrest, judge, or jury still have the power to change your life forever. From Khloé Kardashian and Paris Hilton to Todd and Julie Chrisley, there's no shortage of reality stars with mug shots who have tarnished their reputations with DUIs, tax fraud, or any number of salacious tabloid stories that blow up the Internet. So, it doesn't matter if you boast a television show about your lavish lifestyle — karma has a way of rearing its ugly head. 

The Chrisleys, in particular, found that out the hard way. The couple became famous with their show "Chrisley Knows Best," which premiered in 2014. Throughout its 10-season run USA Network, it followed the married pair and their four children (two from Todd's previous marriage) as they navigated their affluent, over-the-top family life in the south. While the show garnered big ratings, it seems the overnight fame got to the couple's heads. In June 2022, Todd and Julie were convicted on multiple federal fraud charges — including bank fraud and tax evasion — and sentenced to prison that November.

For her part, Julie was given a much shorter sentence — seven years behind bars compared to Todd's 12-year sentence — with the gavel falling harder on her husband. From riches to rags (or should we say orange jumpsuits?), we're taking a look at what Julie Chrisley's life in prison is really like.

Julie Chrisley is serving her time in a Kentucky prison

Julie Chrisley is a long way away from her sprawling Tennessee mansion, and we're pretty sure they don't serve sweet tea in prison. The reality star is serving her sentence in Kentucky at Federal Medical Center (FMC) Lexington, a facility that houses around 1,300 inmates. Around 1,100 of those inmates stay at the medical center, while a little under 200 stay at an adjacent minimum security satellite camp, which is on the smaller side.

Long gone is the reality star's expensive wardrobe, as she traded her designer clothes for a prison-issued matching khaki top and bottoms. As far as jewelry goes, the "Chrisley Knows Best" star is allowed to wear a simple wedding band, but not much else — as all jewelry with stones is prohibited. While she was once paid to entertain, the TV personality now has her pick between jobs in food service, maintenance shops, or possibly even a factory position, according to the inmate handbook

In addition to essentials like clothing, shower supplies, toothpaste, and snacks, Chrisley has the option to purchase electronics at FMC Lexington's commissary. A G-Shock watch is listed for around $82, an MP3 player goes for just under $90, and headphones are listed for about $47.

There's no air conditioning in over 100 degree heat

We sure hope those prison outfits are breathable because Julie Chrisley's prison cell allegedly isn't exactly designed to withstand the summer heat. On a July 2023 episode of daughter Savannah Chrisley's "Unlocked" podcast, she was joined by brother Chase Chrisley to dish out all the details of their parents' prison conditions. 

"It's a nightmare. ... They're both in states where it gets 100 plus degrees, and there's no air conditioning," Chase claimed of his mom and dad's living situations. The Chrisley siblings went on to defend their mother, in particular, complaining that there should be better regulation of the living conditions at FMC Lexington. "I don't care if you've killed somebody, if you're in a government facility, you should have air conditioning," Chase said. While he compared their mother's prison experience to "Fear Factor," Savannah reminded her brother: "I mean, Chase, it is prison, so we're not going to sit here and act like it should be the Four Seasons."

In response to their very public complaints, a Bureau of Prisons spokesperson told CNN that the FMC Lexington is following standard protocol. "We can assure you all AICs [adults in custody] have unlimited access to drinking water and the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is monitoring the ventilation at the Federal Prison Camp (FPC) Pensacola and the Federal Medical Center (FMC) Lexington," the statement read in part.

Julie Chrisley is living with... snakes?

From snakes on a plane to snakes in a ... prison cell? Julie Chrisley may have a lot more than central cooling issues on her hands, as the "Chrisley Knows Best" star is allegedly getting a lot more than just human visitors to her prison. On that same episode of the "Unlocked" podcast, Savannah Chrisley claimed that mom Julie has spotted snakes in her cell.

"Mom has rattlesnakes just casually slithering on the floor in front of her," Savannah said, leading brother Chase Chrisley to correct her — admitting that while they weren't rattlesnakes, they were supposedly some species of poisonous snake. "She just had snakes literally right there where her bed is," the former pageant queen mentioned. "The way they think to apprehend the snake is to mace it," Chase added. The siblings further revealed that not only is their mother allegedly facing snakes, but several other poor conditions, as well. "I mean, air conditioning is the least of it whenever you've got black mold, Asbestos, [and] lead-based paint," Savannah said. She went on to claim that her mother's prison has time to cover up any supposed malpractices due to receiving a notification about inspections prior to the date. 

Of what they dubbed "anecdotal allegations," a spokesperson for the Bureau of Prisons stated to CNN, "For privacy, safety, and security reasons we do not comment on the conditions of confinement for any specific adult in custody (AIC) or group of AICs."

Julie Chrisley is taking prison life 'harder' than her husband

The Chrisleys clearly have a long road in front of them, especially since their respective prison sentences mean they will be enduring a long-distance marriage for the foreseeable future. With Todd Chrisley serving his time in Florida's Federal Prison Camp Pensacola, Julie has had to rely on her children to help her through her own isolating experience in Kentucky. On a May 2023 episode of her "Unlocked" podcast, Savannah Chrisley detailed how her mother was coping behind bars, admitting it's been a grueling process for the matriarch.

"It's definitely harder on her, I think, than it is my dad," Savannah said. "But she's just staying busy." Noting that Julie's been focusing on things like taking classes and her health, she added, "Everything known to man that she can do, she does." The former Miss Tennessee Teen USA added that she believes Julie may be trying to shield certain details in an effort to protect her, adding that her mom avoids divulging too much on the recorded calls home. "You have to be careful how you step," Savannah explained. "You don't want any repercussions for saying something in there, and so she just kind of sticks to herself."

Savannah also mentioned that her mother's first holidays in prison — Easter fell on the same weekend as her husband's birthday — were especially tough on her. "I think [it was] also looking at his birthday and thinking, 'How many more birthdays are gonna ... pass, that we don't get to be together?'" she added.

She can't speak to husband Todd Chrisley

Julie and Todd Chrisley are apparently left with little-to-no contact with each other while serving their time behind bars. Due to the slow communication system between their respective prisons in Kentucky and Florida, Savannah Chrisley has revealed that her parents sadly aren't able to speak to each other. 

"They're emailing a little bit," Savannah shared in a September 2023 interview with Daily Mail, adding, "What's unfortunate is you have people in these prisons who are holding their mail." Around this time, Savannah further explained to E! News, "They've been together almost 30 years ... they were together 24/7 and they've gone now eight months without speaking and that's the tough part." Despite her letters not making it to her husband, Julie has luckily been able to send dozens of letters home to her children. "I don't think there's a single letter that goes by that she does not say how much she misses my dad," Savannah previously admitted on her "Unlocked" podcast.

Despite their limited contact, Savannah — who also disputed claims that divorce was on the horizon in September 2023 — detailed how her parents are instead keeping themselves busy. "They may be working on books, they may, who knows ... but they are definitely documenting every little thing that goes on," she told the Daily Mail. Whether it's tell-all memoirs or a return to reality television, one thing is for sure: this married pair will have quite the story to tell.

Julie Chrisley's prison sentence was reduced

As previously mentioned, Julie Chrisley was originally handed a seven-year sentence for her part in the federal tax evasion and bank fraud charges against her and husband Todd Chrisley. While both reality stars were shipped off to prison in January 2023, the couple did get a bit of good news while serving time behind bars (and while working on their appeal). That September, the Chrisleys' attorney, Jay Surgent, told Entertainment Weekly that both Julie's and Todd's respective sentences were reduced. 

Julie's total time dropped to five years from her allotted seven-year sentence, while Todd's was reduced to 10 years from the original 12. Noting that his clients' time behind bars could be reduced even further when re-evaluated in November 2023, Surgent explained that the couple also qualified under the First Step Act for their model behavior as inmates. As of this writing, Julie is slated to be released on October 19, 2028.