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Lauryn Hill's hard time "will not be a difficult three months for her," one lawyer says

Lauryn Hill arrives at federal court Friday, June, 29, 2012, in Newark, N.J. The eight-time Grammy Award winner and South Orange, N.J., resident was charged this week with willfully failing to file income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service. Federal prosecutors said she didn't pay taxes on more than $1.5 million earned in 2005, 2006 and 2007 from recording and film royalties. AP Photo/Mel Evans

Lauryn Hill arrives at federal court Friday, June, 29, 2012, in Newark, N.J.
AP Photo/Mel Evans

(CBS) Grammy-award winning singer Lauryn Hill began her three month prison sentence on Monday for failing to pay about $1 million in taxes over the past decade. Hill is being held at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Conn., a minimum security prison for women where doing hard time may not be very hard after all.

Alan Ellis, a federal criminal defense lawyer who specializes in white collar criminal cases, says that Hill has an easy stay ahead of her.

"This will not be a difficult three months for her. She'll be considered a short-termer and generally speaking, they say you can do it standing on your head."

In Danbury, inmates live in open dormitory-style quarters and work jobs such as maintenance, food service and landscaping. Inmates work 7.5 hours a day and earn between 12 and 40 cents an hour. Also, inmates are allowed to sit next to visitors in a special room without being separated by barriers.

"There are two facilities there. Federal correctional facility: a real prison, and an adjacent minimum security camp. With a three month sentence, she probably is going to be minimum security prison camp for women," Ellis said. "The women work inside the federal prison and help there by doing laundry, cleaning and landscaping. This is not at all an upscale jail. She'll serve the entire three months and it shouldn't be difficult unless she can't get along with people."

The prison has housed powerful women before. Leona Helmsely, infamously dubbed "the queen of mean," was sent to the minimum-security penitentiary for tax evasion in 1992. The hotelier is known for the tyrannical treatment of her employees and for leaving the bulk of her estate to her dog, Trouble, upon passing away.

The prison, sometimes referred to as "Club Fed," also housed Piper Kerman, who after spending 15 months in Danbury for money laundering and drug trafficking decided to write about it. Her book, "Orange is The New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison" sparked a Netflix series of the same name. The first season is premiering this week to already rave reviews and was picked up for a second season.

Doing time at Danbury was on the table for millionaire homemaker Martha Stewart -- it was reportedly her first choice but she ended up at Federal Prison Camp in Alderson, W. Va. That prison is widely considered America's cushiest, and is nicknamed "Camp Cupcake."

After being released, Hill will be under parole supervision for a year, the first three months of which will be spent under home confinement.

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