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The hellish world of prisoner 02879-509: Stuck in solitary, cornmeal 'grits' for breakfast, and the threat of attack by other prisoners in America's 'worst jail'... PAUL BRACCHI examines Ghislaine's Maxwell's new life

She is being held in solitary confinement with the lights of her cell kept on constantly – in a jail where conditions have been compared to those of a Third World country.
Could there be a harsher introduction to life inside the Metropolitan Detention Center – a bleak high-rise concrete fortress in the Brooklyn district of New York – for Ghislaine Maxwell?
Even without the extra security precautions (because she is considered at risk of self-harm and a potential target for other inmates) conditions inside the MDC, as this maximum security establishment is commonly known, are grim indeed.
'The most troubled federal facility in the prison system' is how a former governor recently described the jail. Considering the US system includes such notorious names San Quentin and Rikers Island, it is quite some claim.
Could there be a harsher introduction to life inside the Metropolitan Detention Center – a bleak high-rise concrete fortress in the Brooklyn district of New York – for Ghislaine Maxwell?
Could there be a harsher introduction to life inside the Metropolitan Detention Center – a bleak high-rise concrete fortress in the Brooklyn district of New York – for Ghislaine Maxwell?

Few, though, doubt, the accuracy of the statement – there have been reports down the years of guards beating and raping female inmates.
But this is where the daughter of disgraced newspaper magnate Robert Maxwell will spend the next 12 months after being denied bail yesterday following her appearance in court in Manhattan via a video link.
Prosecutors have accused Maxwell of helping her friend and former boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein to recruit and abuse girls as young as 14 from 1994 to 1997 and lying about her role in the depositions in 2016. They argued against her application for bail, describing her as an extreme flight risk.
Anyone, let alone an Oxford-educated socialite who enjoyed a life of privilege until her arrest at her £800,000 New Hampshire hideaway last week, would find the prospect daunting.
Little wonder Maxwell's family offered up a £4million bail package to get her freed before she stands trial – to avoid incarceration in the MDC.
Maxwell, 58, once so close to Prince Andrew, knows what lies in store for the foreseeable future. Pictured at a fast-food joint in Los Angeles in August 2019
Maxwell, 58, once so close to Prince Andrew, knows what lies in store for the foreseeable future. Pictured at a fast-food joint in Los Angeles in August 2019
Prosecutors have accused Maxwell of helping her friend and former boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein to recruit and abuse girls as young as 14 from 1994 to 1997
Prosecutors have accused Maxwell of helping her friend and former boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein to recruit and abuse girls as young as 14 from 1994 to 1997
On entering the jail, she will have been placed in 'full restraint' – leg shackles, a body chain and handcuffs – before being strip-searched.
Initially, her Prada dresses and Louboutin heels were replaced by suicide-proof paper clothes and prison slippers. She has now been allowed to change out of them judging by her appearance in a khaki T-shirt and trousers in the court video link.
Maxwell, 58, once so close to Prince Andrew, knows what lies in store for the foreseeable future. Her daily routine is spelt out in the Inmate Admission and Orientation Handbook.
Her prison day starts at 6am, the booklet states. Her bed in her (10ft by 12ft) cell must be made by 7.30am, and she is 'responsible for sweeping and mopping' the cell floor, removing rubbish and 'ensuring it is clean'.
This must come as a shock for a socialite who has probably never picked up a brush and pan in her life. 
Conditions inside the MDC, as this maximum security establishment is commonly known, are grim indeed
Conditions inside the MDC, as this maximum security establishment is commonly known, are grim indeed
But this is where the daughter of disgraced newspaper magnate Robert Maxwell will spend the next 12 months after being denied bail yesterday
But this is where the daughter of disgraced newspaper magnate Robert Maxwell will spend the next 12 months after being denied bail yesterday
Drone footage shows house where Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested
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It doesn't get any easier. On the breakfast menu she will find grits, a type of porridge made from boiled cornmeal, popular in the American South. Would Maxwell have even had grits during her champagne existence on the outside? Probably not.
Lunch is at 11am. Choices include barbecue chicken and macaroni cheese, followed by 'dinner' at 4pm (soup, hot dogs, pasta). Maxwell – or inmate 02879-509 – is not allowed any personal property. She is issued with toothpaste, toothbrushes, combs, and soap.
Her cell contains a locker where she can keep newspapers and magazines (they may make uncomfortable reading) as well as books, letters and photos.
Some inmates are given jobs inside the jail, where there has been a Covid outbreak, following a medical assessment. These include working in the kitchen or the maintenance shop.
Such a privilege would probably not be extended to Maxwell who has already reportedly been the subject of 'multiple and credible threats' against her life. One source said other prisoners targeting Maxwell would be viewed as a 'badge of honour'.
One of the few 'perks' will be watching TV in her cell. She is also allowed one approved MP3 player and a watch. Phone calls are limited to 15 minutes with a maximum 300 minutes a month.
She can receive and send letters which must include her inmate number.
Like other prisoners, Maxwell could be searched by guards at any time as the handbook makes clear: 'Staff may conduct a pat search of an inmate on a routine or random basis to control contraband.' The rules also state 'staff may search an inmate's housing and work area without notice, randomly and without the inmate's presence.'
Maxwell will be set up with her own prison bank account, to which family and friends can wire money. She can spend up to $150 (£120) at the prison shop every two weeks – not even small change to a woman who had about 15 bank accounts, holding up to £18million, according to court documents.
What the 'Inmate Admission and Orientation Handbook' doesn't detail is the controversial history of the Metropolitan Detention Center.
Built in the 1990s, and holding 1,600 men and women, it has been the subject of a number of official investigations by the authorities. Last year, three male MDC guards were convicted of sexually abusing at least six female prisoners.
In 2016, a judge expressed reluctance about sending women to the Brooklyn facility because, she said, conditions made it sound like it was in 'some third-world' country.
The MDC continues to be plagued by reports of misconduct; only last month an inmate died after prison staff doused him with pepper spray, which had led to an inquiry by the Justice Department's inspector general; in May yet another inmate died at the jail.
Maxwell herself is being held in 'administrative detention' – solitary confinement.
Her predicament was revealed by her lawyer at her court appearance this week.
'We have a client who has been kept alone in a room with the lights on all the time, is not allowed to speak with us in jail at all, and wasn't allowed to shower for 72 hours,' he said.
Court papers showed she travelled internationally at least 15 times in the past three years, including trips to the UK.
In 2019 – a few days after Epstein killed himself in prison while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges – she was said to have been photographed in a restaurant in Los Angeles but the pictures were later discredited as Photoshopped fakes.
'The defendant has the ability to live in hiding, and she's demonstrated that she can live off the grid,' prosecutors said.
Hence the reason why this London socialite will be eating grits for breakfast tomorrow.

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