For the first time in her privileged life, ex-socialite Ghislaine Maxwell is living in conditions described by one judge in 2016 as similar to a 'prison on Turkey or a Third World Country.'
The 58-year-old Maxwell was arrested after hiding out in a lavish four-bedroom, four-bathroom mansion in New Hampshire, which Bloomberg notes sports views of the Mount Sunapee foothills from every room.
After being initially booked in New Hampshire on multiple charges related to trafficking underage girls for the sexual gratification of dead pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, Maxwell was transferred on Monday to New York's Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) - home to over 1,600 male and female detainees which was built at the turn of the 20th century and used during both world wars, according to Bloomberg.
No one wants to go to jail, but the conditions described at the MDC have been the subject of numerous complaints and scrutiny that rival the rat-infested federal lockup in Lower Manhattan where Epstein was held.
In early 2019, hundreds of inmates at the MDC were locked shivering in their cells for at least a week after an electrical fire knocked out power in the building. The inmates spent some of the coldest days of that winter in darkness, largely without heat and hot water. -Bloomberg
One inmate, Derrilyn Needham, has been incarcerated at MDC since last November along with 30 other women who slept in bunk beds. Needham said social distancing was difficult, and that for three days starting April 23, the women were on "lockdown on our bunk beds, not able to leave our bunks except to use the bathroom or shower.
She added that they hadn't been given gloves, hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes - and that despite symptoms of COVID-19, the assistant warden said she couldn't receive a test for the virus.
According to The Intercept, "The number of reported coronavirus symptoms far exceeds the number of tests MDC has performed." In May, the facility came under fire for allegedly destroying medical records "as part of a deliberate effort to obscure the number of incarcerated people infected with the coronavirus."
The report, filed Thursday as part of a putative class-action lawsuit by people held in custody at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, casts doubt on assertions by the Bureau of Prisons, which runs the jail, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District, which serves as counsel for the bureau. The Bureau of Prisons and federal prosecutors have insisted in court that the situation at the jail is under control. But the medical examiner’s report — which contradicted prison assertions that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines were being followed — suggests that the six people in custody who have tested positive for the disease likely represent the tip of the iceberg. -The Intercept
After the pandemic began, the detention center was deemed "ill-equipped" to deal with the spread of COVID-19 by former chief medical officer for the city's jails, Homer Venters, who says he's "concerned about the ongoing health and safety of the population," and slammed administrators for failing to adequately deal with the pandemic.
That said, MDC has been on the receiving end of criticism over its conditions long before coronavirus was an issue.
Cheryl Pollak, the federal magistrate in Brooklyn, has repeatedly voiced concerns about the MDC after reviewing a report by the National Association of Women Judges, who visited the facility and found that 161 female inmates were housed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in two large rooms that lacked windows, fresh air or sunlight and weren’t allowed out to exercise. -Bloomberg
"Some of these conditions wouldn’t surprise me if we were dealing with a prison in Turkey or a Third World Country," Pollak said during a 2016 hearing. "It’s hard for me to believe it’s going on in a federal prison."