Felicity Huffman's prison sentence for the college admissions scandal is controversial

Here’s everything you need to know…

(Image credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Here’s everything you need to know…

You would have to have been living under a rock not to have heard of the recent college admissions scandal, with the recently unearthed scheme reportedly being the largest college admissions scandal of all time.

The scheme in question saw parents bribe school officials and college coaches to get their children into top colleges, either by cheating on standardised tests or by getting the children accepted as college athletes despite often not even playing the sport.

And among the parents involved were some very famous faces, with Desperate Housewives actress Felicity Huffman and 90210 actress Lori Loughlin among the parents charged for their involvement in what investigators are calling ‘Operation Varsity Blues’.

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(Image credit: Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Felicity Huffman was sentenced just this weekend for her involvement, with the 56-year-old sentenced to 14 days in prison after she pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud earlier this year.

As well as jail time, Felicity must pay a fine of $30,000 and complete 250 hours of community service.

‘After this, you’ve paid your dues,’ Judge Talwani is reported to have told the actress at the sentencing. ‘I think without this sentence you would be looking at a future with the community around you asking why you had gotten away with this.’

Following the announcement of Felicity Huffman’s sentence however, the internet divided over whether jail time was too harsh of a punishment or whether she should have got a longer sentence.

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(Image credit: Getty Images)

Accused of benefitting from white privilege, Twitter users found examples where black women were given much longer sentences for less extreme crimes.

One of the most notable was Tanya McDowell, with the mother (who was homeless at the time) being sentenced to five years in prison for enrolling her son in a school that was outside her listed district.

Another was Crystal Mason, a Texas woman who is looking at five years in prison for casting a provisional vote in the 2016 US election.

‘I don’t wish this for anyone, but a sentence to 14 days for actual serious fraud just shows how unfair my sentence is,’ Crystal reportedly said of Felicity’s sentence. ‘I’m hopeful the Justices will see that under the law, I shouldn’t have been convicted in the first place.’

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One high profile person to weigh in was singer John Legend, who took to his Twitter account to open a conversation around prison time in general, stating: ‘No one in our nation will benefit from the 14 days an actress will serve for cheating in college admissions.’

‘I get why everyone gets mad when rich person X gets a short sentence and poor person of color Y gets a long one,’ he explained. ‘The answer isn’t for X to get more; it’s for both of them to get less (or even none!!!) We should level down not up.

‘Americans have become desensitized to how much we lock people up. Prisons and jails are not the answer to every bad thing everyone does, but we’ve come to use them to address nearly every societal ill.’

He continued: ‘It’s insane we locked a woman up for 5 years for sending her kid to the wrong school district. Literally everyone involved in that decision should be ashamed of themselves.’

Felicity Huffman must report to prison to start her sentence on 25 October.

Lori Loughlin, another actress involved is yet to be sentenced.

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.