MARION, ILL., AUG. 8 -- Pete Rose, 49, became a prisoner today when he turned himself in to federal officials to begin a five-month sentence for cheating on his income taxes.

He had until Friday to surrender but arranged beforehand to have a federal van pick him up in this southern Illinois town. He slipped unnoticed into the minimum-security federal prison camp a few miles away.

Baseball's all-time hit leader, prisoner 01832061, arrived around noon and was accompanied by members of his family, Warden John L. Clark said. He did not specify who those family members included.

The former Cincinnati Reds manager would be fingerprinted, photographed and given an orientation before he joined his fellow inmates for dinner, Clark said.

"Mr. Rose will have all the rights and obligations as all prisoners and will receive no special privileges," Clark said. "We will have his term pass as uneventfully as possible for him and the other prisoners."

Clark said the prison would make a special effort to protect Rose, assigning him to a job out of public view and respecting his request for no interviews.

Rose's release is scheduled for Jan. 7, 1991, prison officials said. Rose said he hoped to be home for Christmas, with time off for good behavior, but assistant warden Randy Davis said Rose must serve three months at a halfway house in Cincinnati after he leaves Marion.

Barred from baseball a year ago for gambling, he was convicted on two counts of filing false income tax returns. He failed to report more than $350,000 in income from gambling, autograph signing and baseball memorabilia sales.

He was sentenced July 20 by U.S. District Judge S. Arthur Spiegel in Cincinnati. He had knee surgery that same day and delayed reporting to prison so he could recover.

Clark said Rose was not on crutches and that the knee is "doing well." He said his prison job could depend on how long Rose was able to stand and walk.

He said Rose would be examined briefly to make sure he was not on medication and has no contagious diseases.

"We try to help the new people understand how to get along in prison," he said. "Most people are scared to death when they come to prison."

Clark said he had not seen Rose and could not comment on his demeanor.

One of Rose's associates who asked not to be identified said: "His attitude was, 'What do I have to do to get on with this?' It was like back to work, back to business."

The 200-prisoner camp is next to the U.S. Penitentiary-Marion, where about 350 of the toughest criminals in the federal penal system are kept in a building barricaded with razor wire and separated from the prison camp.

Clark said Rose may be assigned to work in the penitentiary, but will not have any contact with its inmates.

For the first two weeks, Rose will stay in a building apart from the main dormitory while he becomes oriented to prison life, authorities said. Prison officials will interview him to match his skills to one of about 35 prison jobs such as kitchen duty, grounds maintenance or electrical work.

Prison guards are prohibited from seeking Rose's autograph.

Camp inmates have been awaiting his arrival and said they hope he will play on their softball team. Rose also will have use of the camp's basketball, tennis, handball and boccie courts, and its weight room.

The camp resembles a summer camp more than a prison. The air-conditioned dormitory is surrounded by well-cut lawns, with umbrella-shaded patio furniture, flower beds and a wildlife refuge. It is not fenced.

Inmates sleep two to a cubicle and move freely around the main building.

Rose originally was ordered to a federal camp in Ashland, Ky., but that prison is still under construction, so he was reassigned to Marion.