Monday, April 8

Ghislaine Maxwell will serve time at a low-security federal prison in Florida


Convicted sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell is back in Florida, but this time she’ll be staying in a federal prison rather than an ocean-front mansion in Palm Beach.

Maxwell, who was sentenced last month to 20 years behind bars for recruiting and grooming young women to have sex with financier Jeffrey Epstein, has been sent to the low-security Federal Correctional Institution in Tallahassee, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons.

The 60-year-old British newspaper heiress was transferred there on Friday from the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where she had been held since she was arrested in July 2020.

Maxwell, who was once on a first-name basis with some of the most powerful men in the world, including former Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, is now registered as an inmate and her official release date is July 17, 2037, according to the BOP inmate locator.

While Maxwell won’t be doing hard time with prisoners of violent felonies, she will be spending most of her time either in a Spartan cell or in a dormitory with other inmates, according to the official prison handbook.

Her daily life will be regimented and far different from her former globe-trotting lifestyle at the all-female facility about three miles east of downtown Tallahassee.

Monday through Friday, lights are on at 6:30 am and the inmates have an hour to clean their cells and make their beds, according to the prison handbook. They are allowed to sleep in a bit on weekends and holidays.

Inmates will be subjected to unscheduled searches for contraband and head counts five or six times a day. Twice daily, the prisoners are required to stand quietly beside their beds during the head counts.

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During the rest of the head counts, prisoners can either sit or lie on their beds but “must leave their head exposed” at all times, the handbook states.

Maxwell will be wearing a prison-issued “jumpsuit” that has to remain “completely buttoned,” even when she is in her cell.

“The only exception will be during recreation in which clothing may consist of orange shorts and T shirt,” the handbook states.

There is no smoking or drinking, and there are fixed times for breakfast, lunch and dinner, although there is a 7 am “coffee hour” and a 10:30 am “brunch” on weekends and holidays.

“If food, other than commissary items, is found in the cell of an inmate, the occupants will be subject to disciplinary action,” the handbook states.

Maxwell will be allowed visitors but those will be limited to immediate family or her lawyers and she will be allowed to make outside phone calls.

But, the handbook says, “All telephone calls are subject to recording and monitoring. Telephone calls have a fifteen (15) minute time limit.”

It’s not all grim, though. If she behaves, Maxwell will be able to watch movies, do yoga and Pilates, take educational classes, even perform in the prison talent show, according to the Zoukis Consulting Group, which specializes in prepping people for federal prison life.

Maxwell is not the first infamous inmate to land at the Tallahassee prison. The federal facility has hosted the convicted American-born Islamic terrorist Colleen LaRose, aka “Jihad Jane,” who was released in 2018, and the convicted Russian operative Maria Butina, who was deported to Moscow in 2019.

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US District Judge Alison Nathan for the Southern District of New York, who presided over Maxwell’s trial, had recommended that she been incarcerated at the federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut, which was the inspiration for the hit Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black. ”

Ultimately, the federal BOP decided to send Maxwell back to Florida to a prison that is about 400 miles northwest of the Epstein compound where most of the crimes for which she was convicted occurred.

Maxwell was convicted in December of five federal sex trafficking charges after a three-week trial during which defense attorneys tried and failed to convince the jury that the chief reason prosecutors went after her was that they could no longer go after Epstein.

Epstein hung himself in 2019 in a Manhattan federal prison cell while he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges.

In a sentencing memorandum, prosecutors wrote that Maxwell enjoyed “a life of extraordinary luxury and privilege” while she engaged in a “disturbing agreement” with Epstein.

“Instead of showing even a hint of acceptance of responsibility, the defendant makes a desperate attempt to cast blame wherever else she can,” they added.

Maxwell also attempted to plead for leniency by claiming she had been a positive influence on other inmates by offering to teach them yoga.

Nathan hit Maxwell with a sentence that was lower than the 30 to 55 years that federal prosecutors had been seeking.

In addition, Maxwell was sentenced to five years of supervised release once she gets out of prison and ordered to pay a $750,000 fine.

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Before she was sentenced, Maxwell addressed the court for the first time, telling the victims present in the courtroom that she was “sorry for the pain you have experienced.”

“I also want to acknowledge I have been convicted with helping Jeffrey Epstein with his crimes,” she said. “It is the greatest regret of my life that I ever met Jeffrey Epstein.”

But, as Nathan noted, what Maxwell failed to express in her statement “was acceptance of responsibility.”


www.nbcnews.com

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