Ghislaine Maxwell (60) will spend the next 20 years in a US prison that’s been dubbed a “celebrity jail” and described as being “like Disneyland”.
The disgraced British socialite, who was convicted of sex-trafficking underage girls to her former boyfriend, billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, was this week sent to Danbury Federal Correctional Institution in Connecticut, US.
Her new home is a far cry from the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York, where she’d been languishing since her arrest in July 2020.
One expert described Danbury as being “like Disneyland” compared to the previous facility where she was being held during the trial, which is notorious for its violence, filthy conditions and overcrowding.
During her detention at Metropolitan, Maxwell filed over 100 grievance reports claiming her tiny cell was overrun by rats, that she was groped by prison guards and deprived of sleep by being woken up every 15 minutes.
Federal prison consultant Justin Paperny told The Times, “She’ll feel like she’s won the lottery.
“She will be able to walk to the library and the exercise track, and be able to make phone calls.”
Maxwell’s lawyers asked for her to be moved to Danbury – which is said to be inspiration behind the hit Netflix prison series Orange is the New Black, which was set in a women’s-only prison.
Danbury, however, has male and female prisoners who are housed separately. It is home to about 1 000 inmates and its amenities include a running track, tree-lined lawns and a baseball pitch.
It also has a variety of arts and crafts, music and fitness programmes.
Over the years it’s become known for its celebrity inmates, including reality star Teresa Giudice of the Real Housewives of New Jersey, singer Lauryn Hill and hotel magnate Leona Helmsley.
During her three-week trial last year, Maxell, the daughter of the late disgraced British media tycoon Robert Maxwell, was described as “dangerous” by the prosecution.
She was known as Epstein’s “madame” during the nineties and early noughties.
She procured a steady stream of underage and vulnerable girls, some as young as 14 – mostly wannabe models she employed under the guise of “massage therapists” for Epstein – but who ended up being used for his and his wealthy friends’ perverted sexual pleasure.
In sentencing Maxwell, Judge Alison Nathan said, “The damage done to these girls was incalculable.”
She said Maxwell’s victims were forced to live through the “painful, horrific and lasting impact of that trauma” and that Maxwell did not appear to express remorse or accept responsibility for her actions.
In an impact statement given to the court last year by Virginia Giuffre, the most outspoken of Epstein’s victims, she described the long-term damage the pair inflicted on her.
“There is not a day that goes by that I don’t ask, ‘Why? Why, Ghislaine, did you enjoy hurting us so much?’,” the 38-year-old Australian-American wrote.
“I worry every single day and night that you will get away with it and evade being punished. I will worry about that until you are brought to justice. And what should that justice look like? Ghislaine, you deserve to spend the rest of your life in a jail cell.”
Maxwell’s lawyers had attempted to distance her from Epstein, but photographs proved their close relationship.
Epstein was found dead in his jail cell in New York in August 2019 while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.
Prison authorities say Maxwell will undergo a psychological evaluation to decide if she needs to be placed on suicide watch.
Her lawyers are said to be worried that she will be targeted and killed by other inmates.
Federal Prison consultant Jack Donson believes she will be a “target” no matter where she’s held.
“She’s high-profile, so she’s a target.”
Sources: yahoo.com, dailymail.co.uk, newsweek.com, news.sky.com