The Illinois town of Marion is a long way from Lodi — 2,100 miles, to be exact.
Just outside the town, behind multiple layers of fencing and electronic monitoring, former Lodi resident Hamid Hayat spends his days in a cell.
Sentenced in September 2007 to 24 years in prison for his role in a terrorism investigation, his current projected release date is May 2, 2026, according to the Bureau of Prisons. Now 27, that means he will be 43 when he is released, unless an appeal is successful.
The appeal, filed in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, was argued in June. When justices will make a decision is unknown. A federal prosecutor who handled Hayat's trial said through a spokeswoman that he is waiting for a ruling. Hayat's appellate attorney didn't return a message seeking comment.
The case, which brought national news media swarming to Lodi in June 2005, has mostly disappeared from local radar. The satellite trucks are long gone, and local Pakistanis, many of whom have lived in the area for decades, have once again been left alone.
After a two-month trial and nine days of deliberating, a federal jury in April 2006 convicted Hayat of lying to the FBI and providing material support to terrorism, by attending a training camp in Pakistan. The defense had maintained that the camp was religious.
A separate jury had been tasked with deciding whether Hayat's father, Umer Hayat, had lied to the FBI. That jury hung, and he later accepted a plea deal in which he admitted to not declaring the full amount of cash he had taken on a trip to visit family in Pakistan.
Since March 2009, Hamid Hayat has been held at the U.S. Penitentiary in Marion, Ill.
He was transferred there from an Indiana prison, and officials said they could not disclose the reason for a transfer. Reasons can vary, ranging from behavior to security status, said Jeff Baney, executive assistant at the Marion prison.
The actual prison is about nine miles from Marion, a town with a population of about 17,000 people. Another 270,000 people live in the outlying area, according to the city's Web site.
Hayat is about 300 miles from Chicago and 120 miles from St. Louis, Mo., according to the prison's Web site.
The prison, dubbed USP Marion, holds medium-security male inmates, and also has an adjacent camp that houses minimum security male prisoners.
Until a "supermax" prison opened in Colorado in 1994, a number of well-known inmates had been held at Marion, including Mafia leader John Gotti.
Medium security prisons usually have cell-style housing and a number of work and treatment programs. They have strengthened perimeters such as multiple fences and electronic detection, according to the Bureau of Prisons.
They are lower than high-security prisons, but are above minimumand low-security centers.
At Marion, inmates may have up to five visitors at a time between 5 and 8 p.m. Fridays, and from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekend days and 20 federal holidays. Visits are on a point system — one point per weekday visit and two per weekend and holiday visit — and 12 points are allowed per month.
Prison officials encourage visits in order to improve morale and give him positive goals for the future.
That means Hayat's family may visit him over the course of two weekends.
As of late December, Hayat was one of 208,117 federal inmates, 93 percent of whom are males. Of those inmates, 30 percent are held in medium security housing, as is Hayat.