Ghislaine Maxwell's New Prison Life Seems More Like A Summer Camp Than Punishment

In June of 2022, a judge sentenced Ghislaine Maxwell to twenty years in prison (via The New York Times). Convicted for her role in various sex trafficking crimes, Maxwell is perhaps best known for her association with Jeffrey Epstein, a former Wall Street investor with connections to uber famous individuals, including Donald Trump, Prince Andrew, and Harvey Weinstein (via the BBC). In 2019, Epstein was arrested and charged with a whole slate of offenses for his sex trafficking of underage girls. He died by suicide in the summer of 2019 while awaiting trial in prison (via CNN). A year later, Maxwell, Epstein's former girlfriend, was arrested for her own role in the crimes. For two years, she was held in a New York prison while awaiting trial (via The Guardian).

Now, she'll be serving the rest of her time in Florida, after a judge ruled she will serve her 20-year sentence in a prison called FCI Tallahassee (via the Daily Mail). But you might be surprised to learn that, despite Maxwell's conviction on a number of serious counts, FCI Tallahassee is actually a low-security prison. More than that, as far as prisons go, it's downright luxurious.

Maxwell's path to prison

Ghislaine Maxwell has long held that her history of being abused by her own father contributed to her involvement in Jeffrey Epstein's crimes (via The Guardian). At one point, Maxwell and Epstein dated, but even after they split up, she remained a close friend of his, and victims claim she was involved in his sex trafficking and sexual abuse of underage girls (via Daily Mail). Victims of Epstein's testified that Maxwell brought them into Epstein's life and did nothing to stop the abuse, with some claiming she even took part in it (via CNN). There are estimated to be over a hundred victims of Epstein, though the exact number is unknown, according to The Cut.

Epstein died by suicide before Maxwell was even charged, and at her trial, Maxwell contended that she was being forced to pay the price for Epstein's crimes, according to The New York Times. However, prosecutors pushed for a heavy sentence.

While Maxwell's trial was pending, she was interred at a New York jail called the Metropolitan Detention Center (via The Guardian). That jail was not nearly as nice as FCI Tallahassee: Maxwell said that she faced sanitary and humane issues, including finding maggots in her meals. Her lawyers even claimed that her health was deteriorating (via Daily Mail). Additionally, prison guards kept a close watch on Maxwell, especially after Epstein's suicide. Maxwell claimed guards were shining flashlights into her cell every 15 minutes, according to the Associated Press.

FCI Danbury

When it came time for the location of her sentence to be decided, Ghislaine Maxwell requested that she be sent to a Connecticut prison, FCI Danbury, which is known for being lax and comfortable. Experts have compared FCI Danbury to Disneyland, according to The Guardian.

The facility that was Maxwell's first choice to serve out the rest of her prison sentence is a known haven for celebrities who have to serve time. FCI Danbury actually earned the nickname "Club Fed," for its more pleasant accommodations, according to the Associated Press. It's most famous though for having served as the inspiration for the prison in "Orange Is the New Black," after the hit show's writer, Piper Kerman, served time there. Some of its other famous former residents include Lauryn Hill and Teresa Guidice of "Real Housewives of New Jersey" fame.

Despite her request for the Connecticut facility, Maxwell was sent to FCI Tallahassee instead. Per the Associated Press, the Florida prison that is Maxwell's new home is about 360 miles from Jeffrey Epstein's Palm Beach mansion, where some of the crimes are said to have happened.

Maxwell's low-security prison

So what does FCI Tallahassee look like? It's pretty relaxed. Described as "sprawling" by some sources, (via Yahoo News) the co-ed prison offers a range of activities and enrichment experiences for inmates, much like a summer camp (via The Guardian). For instance, prisoners can play a variety of sports, like softball or yoga, and sometimes have events like talent shows.

Though Ghislaine Maxwell is in her 60s, she can also choose to boost her resume by tackling any number of career development opportunities, such as learning how to be an electrician or horticulturist, reports the Daily Mail. The prison library will allow Maxwell to continue her current efforts of learning Russian, they also note. Despite its more luxurious offerings — at least compared to the Brooklyn facility — inmates have alleged abuse by the prison guards at FCI Tallahassee in recent years, according to the Associated Press.

Maxwell will be in prison for a good, long while. Though she might get out on parole as early as 2037, The Guardian reports, seeing as Maxwell is currently in her 60s, she'll be of quite an advanced age by that point.