Rod Blagojevich headed to prison, March 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

In mid-March, I came across a truly fascinating piece of writing in the Chicago Tribune. It purported to be some useful advice from one (former) convict to an incoming con. Not knowing any prisoners firsthand, I can’t tell you how spot-on the counsel is.

But as I read it through a second time, it struck me how valuable much of the advice was for lawyers, or anyone who seeks courteous relations with their fellow-travelers.

The advice was for none other than former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who’s just starting his prison term in a federal pen in Colorado. As the Associated Press describes it, “Blagojevich was convicted of 18 criminal counts over two trials, including charges that accused him of attempting to sell or trade an appointment to President Barack Obama’s vacated U.S. Senate seat. The 55-year-old Democrat is due to report to a prison in Colorado on Thursday to begin serving a 14-year sentence, making him the second Illinois governor in a row to go to prison for corruption.”

The writer of the advice article was Jeff Smith, whose bio in the newspaper I reprint in its entirety:

“Jeff Smith, a former Missouri state senator, is a professor in the Milano Graduate School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy. He spent 2010 in at the Federal Correctional Institution in Manchester, Ky., as a result of charges stemming from a 2004 campaign-finance violation.”

A professor, eh? Well, he certainly landed on his feet.

Anthropologically, convict–convict communications are something we’re typically not privy to, and so I found his advice intriguing. He opens his piece—simply titled “12 Tips for Blagojevich”—thus:

“After spending a year in federal prison on an obstruction of justice charge stemming from a 2004 congressional campaign violation, I have a few tips for former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich as he heads for prison.”

If you were worried that his article would be filled with advice that’s too insider to be of use, his first piece of counsel eliminates that concern:

“1. As your grandma probably taught you, God gave you two ears, two eyes and one mouth—use them in proportion.”

Bullet points further flesh out this and every recommendation.

Read the full story here. And below is a graphic that details what Blagojevich faces in prison.