Tonight will be Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s second night in prison at Rikers Island.
While we won’t be seeing any photos of DSK as a jailbird, we get some idea of the IMF head’s new home from CNN:
- He’s in protective custody. Aka he’s “kept away from the general population.” But he’s not technically alone.
- He’s being kept in the West Facility, “part of which is used to house inmates with contagious diseases,” CNN reports. There are other parts of the prison also alloted to isolated prisoners.
- His cell is 11-by-13-foot.
- In the cell: 1 thin grey blanket; 2 small white sheets; 1 small towel; 1 bar of prison-manufactured soap; 1 toothbrush. And some toilet paper.
- DSK won’t interact with any other prisoners and “his cell is the only one occupied on that side of the unit.”
- He gets woken up at 6 am every day.
- He gets one hour of “recreation” time outside his cell each day. (Except he’s also allowed out of his cell sometimes to “walk around his housing area corridor, where he can watch television.”)
- When he is out of his cell, he’s guarded by a corrections officer and a captain.
- He’s allowed 3 visits each week, not including visits from his celebrity lawyer.
- Tonight he’ll be eating veal patties for dinner, with steamed cabbage and whole wheat bread.
Also, one former Rikers inmate said that just because DSK is in isolation, doesn’t mean he’ll be immune to jailhouse life.
Remember Joe Halderman? He’s the TV producer who blackmailed David Letterman and then spent four months imprisoned at Rikers. So he knows what it’s like in that particular slammer.
In an article for the Daily Beast, Halderman explains why even though Dominique Strauss-Kahn is being held in isolation in protective custody, he’ll still be constantly reminded he’s in prison:
Strauss-Kahn will be safe, but not alone. Even in protective custody, there is no solitude. There are cells on all sides of you, and the men inside them are restive. The place is always noisy, even after lights out, at 11 p.m. In fact, that is often the edgiest part of the day, with inmates shouting to each other, or singing, and sometimes screaming, well into the night.
Halderman also talks about what would have happened to DSK when he arrived at Rikers.
Firstly, he would have been processed in “the bullpen.”
What is the bullpen? According to Halderman, “it’s hours of excruciating tedium, endless processing” in which new inmates are measured, and have their photo taken, fingers printed and give a urine sample.
It’s also the point in which prisoners are strip-searched; unless DSK got different treatment to every other single Rikers prisoner, he had to “turn his back to his jailers, squat, and lift the bottoms of his bare feet for inspection.”