Former Maryland Gov. Marvin Mandel, his hopes dimmed for an early release, planned to observe the first anniversary of his imprisonment today "in the same routine I follow every day."
Mandel, who is serving a three-year sentence for racketerring and mail fraud at the federal prison camp at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., said in a telephone interview that "nothing has changed. Each day follows the last."
The former two-term Democrat governor has little hope of winning release for another year, although he and his supporters haven't given up their efforts. The most recent rejection came in March, when the bureau of prisons turned down a request that Mandel be assigned to a work release program in Annapolis.
Annapolis lawyer Bruce Bereano said yesterday that he and Arnold Weiner, who was Mandel's defense attorney are "weighing new approaches," which include asking the federal parole commission to reconsider its denial of early parole, and a direct appeal to Attorney General William French Smith.
The 61-year-old Mandel said he has been transferred from the prison laundry to the recreation equipment room, where his job is "passing out shoes, gloves and bats. And I even play a little softball with the over-40 team."
In his off-duty hours, Mandel's leadership qualities have resulted in his election as president of the prison Toastmasters Club, which teaches inmates how to speak in public.
As a result of his club presidency, Mandel is a member of the prison's Presidents Council, which meets weekly to hear inmate complaints, which then are passed on to the superintendents.
In the many hours which Mandel spends alone in his dormitory cubicle, he studies Spanish, reads "everything I can get my hands on," and is making notes for a possible book.
Mandel said his wife, Jeanne, has been "a tower of strength," working as a business consultant in Annapolis. Her son (by a previous marriage) Paul, a high school sophomore, helps her save money for the expensive trip to Eglin with proceeds from a weekend job. She visits Mandel every six or eight weeks, and he calls her -- collect -- every other day, "when the [inmates'] phone isn't tied up."
Mandel and five other men were convicted in 1977 of a scheme in which the governor used the influence of his office to enrich them through a race track they secretly owned.
Two of the others remain in prison, Harry W. Rodgers with Mandel at Eglin and W. Dale Hess at a similar minimum security prison at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.
The other three were William A. Rodgers III, Harry's brother, who is completing one year of public service work in Baltimore; Ernest N. Cory Jr., who was granted probation, and Irvin Kovens, Mandel's lifelong fried and mentor, who was released from Eglin last November because of poor health. a