'I think that they've been singled out,' Jay Surgent told ET.
Todd and Julie Chrisley's lawyer is speaking out about the condition of their prisons. ET spoke to the couple's new lawyer, Jay Surgent, after their children claimed that Todd and Julie are facing "nightmare" conditions behind bars.
"I would like to say that they're doing well, but they're not," Jay, of Weiner Law Group, told ET. "First of all, anybody incarcerated is not doing well because they're restricted of their freedom. But the problem in this situation is that, because of their celebrity status, I think that they've been singled out."
"I don't want to absolutely say that they've been discriminated against as a result of their celebrity status, [but there are] certain things that they've had to endure while being incarcerated, [that] they've been subject to, that need to be corrected," he added.
Todd and Julie were convicted on fraud charges in November 2022 and reported to prison in January. Todd is serving his 12-year prison sentence in Pensacola, Florida, while Julie is serving a seven-year sentence in Lexington, Kentucky. They are both appealing the conviction.
Jay alleged that his clients' CARES Act application requesting home confinement wasn't processed, that their "legal mail is being opened before it's given to them," and that "they're sometimes not getting their mail at all," before speaking more about the living conditions they're facing at present.
"Todd is sleeping and he's getting pictures taken of him. Julie is in her facility in Lexington, Kentucky, and it's 100 degrees, as it is in Todd's facility at Pensacola. There's no air conditioning," he said, before claiming that, in Julie's facility they combated the lack of AC by opening windows.
"What happens is two poisonous snakes come into the facility and Julie's living space and they had to be subdued and taken out. It's just a horrible condition example of the lack of care of the facilities," he added.
Meanwhile, at Todd's facility, Jay claimed that repairs haven't been made to the building since a hurricane hit it years prior.
"The roofs were torn off. Right now they have tarp roofs, which means is that the moisture's coming in, there's mold all over the place, and of course, there's no air conditioning," he said.
As for the cause of alleged conditions, Jay explained, "From a politician standpoint, from that viewpoint, there's not much gain from sponsorship of prisoners, there's not many votes there. I think from a practical standpoint, when you look at the United States budget and what is given to the military and defense and the state department and welfare and other issues in our society that it's not prioritized."
"It's 2023 and people should not have to live in inhumane conditions," he said. "It's absolutely ridiculous. It shouldn't be tolerated... We need prison reform in the United States of America."
Now, Jay is focusing on two things: "a correction" in the Chrisley's living facilities and their pending appeal.
"They're not a flight risk, there's no violence involved," he said. "If they're gonna pay back restitution how could they do it while they're sitting in prison under those conditions?"