From music stars to billionaire hotel heirs, the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut, has been home to some of the most famous female prisoners in US history.
The low-security prison, sometimes referred to as Club Fed, is where Ghislaine Maxwell, a convicted child sex trader, requested a 20-year federal prison sentence.
In stark contrast to Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center, where the 60-year-old has spent nearly two years awaiting trial, FCI Danbury has a reputation as one of the most hospitable prisons, and has carved out a special place in American pop culture.
Most famous, the fictional Litchfield Prison in the Netflix comedy Orange is the new black Partially based on FCI Danbury.
Author Piper Kerman spent 13 months in prison in the mid-2000s after being convicted of money laundering and drug trafficking.
her diary Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison It was based on her experience behind bars and later turned into the Emmy Award winning TV series.
Six-time Grammy winner Lauren Hill, 47, spent three months at FCI Danbury in 2013 for failing to pay about $1 million in taxes.
On the day of her release from prison, Mrs. Hill released a new song titled consumerism .
The R&B singer “liked to get this music out while she was locked up, because it’s a product of the space she’s been in while going through some challenges she’s been in lately,” according to a promotional release at the time.
Leona Helmsley, often referred to as the “Queen of the Middle,” was convicted in 1989 of 33 counts of tax evasion, tax fraud and mail fraud, and sentenced to four years in prison.
Helmsley married hotel mogul Harry Helmsley in 1972, and became synonymous with the “Greed is Good” mantra in the 1980s.
According to a biography written by her former lawyer, Sandor Frankl, he had heard her say, “We don’t pay taxes, only the young ones pay taxes.”
When Helmsley died in 2007 at the age of 87, she left behind a $5 billion estate.
The Connecticut facility was also a temporary home to the former TheThe Real Housewives of New Jersey Actress Teresa Giudice.
Giudice spent 11 months behind bars at FCI Danbury in 2015 after pleading guilty to bankruptcy and mail fraud in a scheme with her husband, Joe Giudice.
In an interview with good morning america After her release, the reality TV star described her imprisonment as living in “hell”.
“There was mold in the bathrooms. There was no running water constantly. The rain was very cold. The living conditions were really appalling.
“There were some nights we didn’t have heat…it was hell.”
Outside Orange is the new black, The prison provided a gritty backdrop for many other TV shows.
In the popular Showtime series herbsthe protagonist of the novel, Nancy Botwin, played by Mary-Louise Parker, works for FCI Danbury.
In legal drama suit, Mike Ross, Patrick J. Adams, having a hard time at Danbury.
Maxwell, 60, has filed more than 100 complaints about her treatment in prison during her time in the Metropolitan Detention Center.
She claimed that the rats shared her cell with the rats, that they were subjected to regular checks in the hollows, and were abused by the guards. She also claimed that her food was full of worms.
Justin Baberney, an expert on federal prisons, said Danbury would be like “Disneyland” compared to its experience at MDC.
“She was in the miserable, wet, cold, filthy detention center in Brooklyn, which really made her incarcerated,” said Baberney. times.
I have truly endured the worst that prison can offer – in solitary confinement, dealing with Covid and quarantine and arguably the worst detention center in America.
“People are surprised to hear that once she is judged and makes her way to the Federal Correctional Institution, she will actually feel like she’s in Disneyland compared to what she does now.”
Opened in 1940, FCI Danbury is located about 55 miles north of New York City and became a women’s prison in 1993.
The prison offers classes in everything from group therapy programs for inmates with PTSD to “hobby and music” lessons.
Guests can also take circuit training and aerobics classes.