Ghislaine Maxwell moved to low-security prison in Florida

Disgraced socialite serving 20-year sentence for procuring teenage girls for Jeffrey Epstein to abuse

Ghislaine Maxwell has been sent to a low-security prison to serve her 20-year prison sentence for procuring teenage girls to be abused by the financier Jeffrey Epstein.

The 60-year-old has been moved to FCI Tallahassee in Florida, according to the Bureau of Prisons. She will be eligible for release on 17 July 2037.

The disgraced socialite appealed against her conviction and sentence this month.

Maxwell, the daughter of the publishing baron Robert Maxwell, had been held at the Metropolitan Detention Center, New York, since her arrest in July 2020 on charges that she lured girls as young as 14 into Epstein’s abusive orbit.

Her lawyers repeatedly complained that conditions at the Brooklyn jail were “reprehensible”. They claimed Maxwell was subjected to such invasive surveillance that it “rivals scenes of Dr Hannibal Lecter’s incarceration” from the film The Silence of the Lambs.

They also alleged that Maxwell was deprived of water and fed food infested with maggots. They claimed that raw sewage permeated her cell, which was plagued by rats, and that guards prevented her from sleeping by shining torches into her eyes every 15 minutes.

Her lawyers requested that she serve her sentence at FCI Danbury in Connecticut, a minimum security prison that was the inspiration for the hit Netflix series Orange Is the New Black. Experts have previously described the jail as being “like Disneyland” compared with the Brooklyn institution.

Alison Nathan, who oversaw Maxwell’s trial, had recommended that Maxwell be moved to FCI Danbury following the request, but the Bureau of Prisons ultimately made the decision.

FCI Tallahassee is a mixed-sex facility that opened in 1938.

Prosecutors argued in June that Maxwell should be imprisoned for at least 30 years. But in submissions before her sentencing hearing, her lawyers said she should face no more than four to five years, arguing it would be “a travesty of justice for her to face a sentence that would have been appropriate for Epstein”.

In their bid for leniency, Maxwell’s lawyers contended that her jail conditions were harrowing, alleging: “An inmate in Ms Maxwell’s unit threatened to kill her, claiming that an additional 20 years’ incarceration would be worth the money she’d receive for murdering Ms Maxwell.”

They also argued that an emotionally abusive childhood at the hands of her father primed her for Epstein’s influence.

Epstein was arrested by federal authorities in July 2019 on sex-trafficking counts. He killed himself while awaiting trial in a New York City federal jail.

The judge handed down a 20-year sentence, saying Maxwell “repeatedly, and over the course of many years participated in a horrific scheme to traffic young girls, some the age of 14”.

Nathan said it was important that although “Epstein was central to this scheme” she was not being sentenced “as a proxy” for him. She said: “The defendant’s conduct … was heinous and predatory.”

The sentencing took place nearly three months after the judge rejected Maxwell’s request for a fresh trial after revelations that a juror in her case had not disclosed childhood sexual abuse during jury selection.

Maxwell, who has maintained her innocence, was convicted on 29 December of five of the six charges she faced. The jury came to its decision after 40 hours of deliberations spanning six days.

• This article was amended on 26 July 2022. FCI Tallahassee is a mixed-sex facility, and not just for women as an earlier version said.


Emine Sinmaz

The GuardianTramp

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