Ghislaine Maxwell could spend her 20-year sentence at the Connecticut federal prison that inspired ‘Orange Is The New Black’ and housed ‘Real Housewives’ star Teresa Giudice – a far cry from the infamous Metropolitan Detention Center where she’s been held since her arrest.
Judge Alison Nathan recommended that Maxwell be sent to the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut, a low-security facility about 55 miles from New York City.
Ghislaine Maxwell, 60, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Tuesday for helping the sex offender and globetrotting financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse teenage girls, in what a judge called a ‘horrific scheme’ that inflicted ‘incalculable’ harm on victims.
The prison has held previous inmates including singer Lauryn Hill, reality TV star Teresa Giudice, and Piper Kerman, author of Orange is the New Black. It is believed Kerman partly based Litchfield Prison in Orange Is the New Black on Danbury.
There is no parole for federal prison, so Maxwell is likely to serve the entire 20-year sentence, but could potentially be released a few years early for good behavior.
After spending nearly two years at the infamous Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, prison experts have said that a stay at Danbury will make her feel like she is in ‘Disneyland.’
Danbury federal correctional institution, which opened in August 1940, has held previous inmates including singer Lauryn Hill, reality TV star Teresa Giudice, and is thought to be the inspiration for the Netflix show ‘Orange is the New Black’
Aerial photos show the prison also boasts a running track, a baseball pitch, and a well manicured lawn with trees and pathways
Teresa Giudice in Danbury Women’s Prison. The Real Housewives of New Jersey star was sentenced to 15 months in the low-security federal correctional institution in 2014 for for bankruptcy fraud and conspiracy
Inmates at Danbury are offered a ‘wide variety of hobby craft and music programs’ like circuit training, aerobics, fitness class
A bunk bed inside a cell at Danbury prison is pictured in the late 1980s
The prison has held previous inmates including singer Lauryn Hill, reality TV star Teresa Giudice, and Piper Kerman, author of Orange is the New Black
Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Tuesday for helping sex offender and financier Jeffrey Epstein sexually abuse teenage girls, in what a judge called a ‘horrific scheme’ that inflicted ‘incalculable’ harm on victims
Judge Alison Nathan recommended that Maxwell be sent to the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut, a low-security facility about 55 miles from New York City
Maxwell is seen in 2005 with Jeffrey Epstein, who killed himself in jail in July 2019
The facility has a number of cushy programs on offer for inmates, including a ‘wide variety of hobby craft and music’ as well as circuit training, aerobics, over 50 fitness.
Aerial photos of the prison also boasts a running track, a baseball pitch, and a well manicured lawn with trees and pathways.
It is unclear whether Maxwell would get to take part in any of the amenities depending on the level of security she would need.
The British socialite was convicted in December of five charges, including sex trafficking a minor, for recruiting and grooming four girls to have sexual encounters with Epstein, then her boyfriend, between 1994 and 2004.
Speaking at her sentencing hearing in Manhattan federal court before learning the sentence, Maxwell called Epstein a ‘manipulative, cunning and controlling man’ who fooled everyone in his orbit.
She said she was ‘sorry’ for the pain that his victims experienced. ‘It is the greatest regret of my life that I ever met Jeffrey Epstein,’ Maxwell said.
Netflix show Orange is the New Black is based on the real life story of life inside Danbury prison
Maxwell appeared in a blue prison uniform with shackles around her ankles, addressed the court and said she was ‘fooled’ by Epstein.
‘I realize I have been convicted of assisting Jeffrey Epstein to commit these crimes,’ she said. ‘My association with Epstein will permanently stain me. It is the biggest regret of my life that I ever met him.’
She added that Epstein ‘fooled all of those in his orbit.’
Prosecutors had asked Judge Nathan to impose a sentence of at least 30 years because of Maxwell’s ‘utter lack of remorse,’ while Maxwell claimed she should serve just four years as she is not a danger to the public.
After the sentencing on Tuesday, Maxwell’s attorney Bobbi Sternheim said outside the courthouse, ‘Our client Ghislaine Maxwell has been vilified, pilloried and left little room for her to be treated fairly. Because even before she stropped forward into this courthouse, she was being tried and convicted in the court of public opinion.
‘Ghislaine will appeal this case and we’re confident she will prevail on appeal.’
Maxwell, who has been at the infamous Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center since July 2020, has filed more than 100 complaints over jail conditions that she has called a ‘living hell’ where she was ‘assaulted and abused.’
Maxwell has been at MDC in Brooklyn since July 2020 and has filed over 100 complaints
A typical cell in the MDC, with a combination toilet and sink fixture
A room inside the MDC, which is used for medical examinations
She has complained of ‘humiliating’ body-cavity and strip searches, and invasive shower surveillance.
Maxwell – the jet-setting daughter of a wealthy British newspaper tycoon; a glamorous society darling who mingled with former presidents, billionaires and royals – complained that her treatment in the MDC amounted to torture.
Her family wanted to take the case to the United Nations, claiming that she was subjected to inhumane treatment – fed rotten food, kept in excessively hot and cold conditions, and living in a cell that flooded with raw sewage.
Justin Paperny, a federal prison consultant, said that wherever she ends up next, it will mark the beginning of a significantly improved phase in her incarceration.
Another prison expert previously told The Times that her new situation would be ‘like Disneyland’ by comparison. Paperny said the MDC had been infamous long before Maxwell set foot there.
In the winter of 2019, the power and heating failed, leading to outrage among relatives of 1,636 male and female inmates, and among activists.
A scathing report into conditions inside the jail commissioned in the aftermath was suppressed by the Bureau of Prisons until July this year, and the jail was described as violent, filthy, overcrowded and decrepit.
A cafeteria at Danbury prison is pictured in the late 1980s
Paperny said the difference between the MDC and her post-sentencing prison will be stark.
‘Once she reaches prison she’ll feel like she’s won the lottery,’ he said.
‘She will be able to walk to the library, able to walk to the exercise track, able to make phone calls.’
Paperny previously said that given the nature of her sex crimes Maxwell will not be able to follow in the footsteps of Martha Stewart and Desperate Housewives actress Felicity Huffman and opt for a ‘minimum security camp’.
Stewart spent five months in federal prison in Alderson, West Virginia, on charges of lying about the sale of stock.
Huffman spent 11 days behind bars in Dublin, California, last year after she was convicted of fraudulently getting her daughters into elite colleges.
Martha Stewart is seen in July 2004 after she was sentenced to five months for fraud
A view of the Alderson prison in West Virginia, where Martha Stewart served her time in 2005
Huffman is seen with her husband, actor William H. Macy, after being sentenced in September 2019
Felicity Huffman served her sentence at the Dublin prison (pictured) in California
Paperny said their prisons were nicknamed ‘Club Feds’ for their relaxed outlook. ‘Maxwell won’t be eligible for the County Club prison type place as hers was a sex crime, so she’ll be fenced in.’
After Epstein hanged himself while awaiting trial in 2019, attention turned to Maxwell who was arrested a year later and found guilty in December following her sensational trial.
She has said she will appeal her conviction and claims that she is being made a ‘scapegoat’ for Epstein.
Four women gave evidence against Maxwell during her weeks-long trial: a victim known as ‘Jane’, Annie Farmer, Kate and another woman called Carolyn.
Over three weeks, the jury heard how Maxwell ‘served up’ underage girls for Epstein and relished her role as the ‘Lady of the House’ at his mansion in Palm Beach, Florida.
Four women gave evidence against Maxwell during her trial: a victim known as ‘Jane’ (left) , Annie Farmer, Kate and another woman called Carolyn (right)
Maxwell was sentenced today after being convicted of sex trafficking in December. The sentencing marks the end of a decades-long fight for justice by victims of her and Epstein
Two victims, Annie Farmer and the woman known only as ‘Kate’, read their testimony in person as they face down Maxwell
Between 1994 and 2004 Maxwell was Epstein’s ‘right hand’ and paid $200 for sexualized massages or even took part in the abuse.
The victims, some as young as 14, were given a similar amount of money if they brought friends to Epstein, the jury was told.
During the trial, prosecutors called 24 witnesses to give jurors a picture of life inside Epstein’s homes – a subject of public fascination and speculation ever since his 2006 arrest in Florida in a child sex case.
A housekeeper testified he was expected to be ‘blind, deaf and dumb’ about the private lives of Epstein, a financier who cultivated friendships with influential politicians and business tycoons.
Pilots took the witness stand and dropped the names of luminaries – Britain’s Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump – who flew on Epstein’s private jets.
Jurors saw physical evidence like a folding massage table once used by Epstein and a ‘black book’ that listed contact information for some of the victims under the heading ‘massages’.
There were bank records showing he had transferred $30.7 million to Maxwell.
GHISLAINE MAXWELL AND JEFFREY EPSTEIN’S BRAVE VICTIMS WHO SPOKE OUT ABOUT ABUSE
With enormous courage, two British victims of Ghislaine Maxwell attended court to speak in harrowing detail about their horrific ordeals at the hands of the child sex predator – and the mental torment they still suffer.
A British woman who testified under the name ‘Kate’, and Sarah Ransome – who was not included in the indictment at Maxwell’s trial late last year – penned victim impact statements which spelt out in graphic detail how their lives had been destroyed by the fallen socialite.
They made a point of turning up at the courthouse in New York and reading out extracts of their impact statements in person before the judge jailed Maxwell for 20 years for recruiting girls for herself and her former boyfriend, the pedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein, to molest.
The British victims were among four Maxwell survivors who wanted to come face-to-face with the Oxford-educated sex trafficker and tell the world how her crimes had affected them.
Ransome even provided the court with shocking images of her in hospital following a failed suicide attempt, after she struggled to come to terms with the abuse she had suffered at the hands of Maxwell. An impact statement from Prince Andrew’s teen accuser Virginia Roberts, now known by her married name Giuffre and who was unable to attend court due to a ‘medical issue’, was read out by her lawyer.
Miss Ransome, 37, whose father is Scottish Lord Macpherson, said she was raped up to three times a day during months imprisoned on Epstein’s private Caribbean island, having been tricked by Maxwell into his sordid web of abuse. She said in her impact statement: ‘I became nothing more than a human sex toy with a heartbeat and soul for the entertainment of Epstein, Maxwell and others. On one visit to [Epstein’s private island], the sexual demands, degradation and humiliation became so horrific that I tried to escape by attempting to jump off a cliff into shark-infested waters.
‘They pounced, ensnaring us in their upside-down, twisted world of rape, rape and more rape. Like Hotel California, you could check into the Epstein-Maxwell dungeon of sexual hell, but you could never leave. Ghislaine by her own hand, forced me into Epstein’s room to be raped.’
‘I have never married and do not have children, something I always wished for, even as a little girl.
‘I have attempted suicide twice since the abuse – both near fatal.’
Preyed on by Maxwell after moving to New York aged 18 in 1991, with the ambition of working in the fashion industry, Miss Stein said she was first abused by the British socialite and Epstein at a hotel – on the very first day she met Ghislaine.
‘That night in the hotel was the first of many times they sexually assaulted me,’ she said. ‘Afterwards, I tried to pretend everything was normal…’ Miss Stein said she was ‘assaulted, raped and trafficked countless times’ during a three-year period after Epstein – who died in prison in 2019 – and Maxwell lured her into their sex trafficking ring by ‘seizing upon her vulnerability’.
She had to have an abortion after getting pregnant by one of the ‘countless’ men who raped her while she was being trafficked to their friends. ‘Things happened that were so traumatizing that to this day I’m unable to speak about them; I don’t even have the vocabulary to describe them.
‘In the most literal sense of the word, Epstein and Maxwell terrified me. They told me that if I told anyone, nobody would believe me and if they did, they would kill me and the people closest to me. After meeting Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, it felt like someone shut off the lights to my soul.’
The fourth and final accuser in Maxwell’s trial told jurors how the privately-educated predator gave her a nude massage and groped her as a teen at Epstein’s New Mexico ranch.
‘One of the most painful and ongoing impacts of Maxwell and Epstein’s abuse was a loss of trust in myself, my perceptions, and my instincts,’ she said.
‘When predators groom and then abuse or exploit children and other vulnerable people, they are, in a sense, training them to distrust themselves. When a boundary is crossed or an expectation violated, you tell yourself, ‘Someone who cares enough about me to do all these nice things surely wouldn’t also be trying to harm me.
‘This pattern of thinking is insidious, so these seeds of self-doubt took root even as I learned my sister [Maria] had also been harmed by them, and came to find out years later that many others had been exploited.
‘For years these memories triggered significant self-recrimination, minimization and guilt.
‘I blamed myself for believing these predators actually wanted to help me. I felt tremendous survivor guilt when I heard what other girls and young women had experienced at the hands of Maxwell and Epstein.
‘I remember sitting at my desk physically shaking after seeing the photo of Maxwell with Virginia [Roberts] and Prince Andrew, because it became clear to me how their scheme had continued.
‘Maxwell had many opportunities to come clean, but instead continued to make choices that caused more harm. When my sister and I first spoke out to the media about what happened to us, Maxwell lied about us and threatened Maria, thus helping shut down investigations into Epstein’s behaviour so they could together continue to harm children and young women.’
Prince Andrew’s teen sex accuser, Miss Roberts – now based in Australia – is the most famous Epstein victim of them all. Although she did not give evidence at Maxwell’s trial, the jury found Miss Roberts was one of her sex trafficking victims. In her impact statement, the American vowed to Maxwell: ‘If you ever get out of prison, I will be here, watching you, making sure you never hurt anyone else again.’
She also told her: ‘Without question, Jeffrey Epstein was a terrible paedophile. But I never would have met Jeffrey Epstein if not for you.
‘For me, and for so many others, you opened the door to hell.
‘And then, Ghislaine, like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, you used your femininity to betray us, and you led us all through it. You could have put an end to the rapes, the molestations, the sickening manipulations that you arranged, witnessed and even took part in.
‘Ghislaine, you deserve to spend the rest of your life in a jail cell. You deserve to be trapped in a cage forever, just like you trapped your victims.’
When British victim ‘Kate’ was a lonely teenager in 1994, Maxwell dressed her as a schoolgirl for sex with Epstein and branded her a ‘good girl’.
She said: ‘The many acts that were perpetrated on me by Epstein including rape, strangulation and sexual assault would have never occurred had it not been for the cunning and premeditated role Ghislaine Maxwell played. What happened to me at that young age changed the course of my life drastically, forever.
‘I witnessed on numerous occasions, over many years, Ghislaine Maxwell trying to recruit other girls and making consistent and insistent demands on me and others to do the same.
‘There was never any ambiguity or doubt about her having full knowledge of what was to take place once she recruited girls.’ In the years following the abuse, she struggled with drug addiction, panic attacks and night terrors, and she told of feeling ‘unable to trust my own instincts in choosing romantic relationships’.
Kate said testifying in the trial had been ‘both terrifying and re-traumatizing’ but added: ‘I do not, however, regret it for one moment.’