Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bernie Madoff's New Penthouse Suite

The accomodations are palatial, the cuisine sublime

Judge Denny Chin has remanded Bernie "the Shtunk" Madoff into custody, which probably means that he will be incarcerated at New York's Metropolitan Correctional Center, which is adjacent tot he federal courthouse. (I say"probably" because sometimes federal prisoners are farmed out to local institutions, which are not half as nice.)

So what quality of life does Madoff face in his new home?

Well, I can only speak from the standpoint of a onetime visitor to the facility, where the subject of my book Born to Steal was confined at one point, so my perspective is limited and a bit dated. But I can say that it's not nice at all.

Back in 2003, when I was there last, a visitor to the facility had to pass through several intrusive, unpleasant level of security before arriving at the prisoner holding pens. The atmosphere is a bit like the Port Authority Bus Terminal, reduced in size by a factor of 5000. It is antiseptic but cramped, oppressive, altogether suicide-inducing.

But not to worry. I'm sure the Shtunk will be on suicide watch, and that he will have no ready way of killing himself unless he decides to beat himself to death.

As for cuisine: I'm told that nutricious, fine baloney sandwiches are the main bill of fare.

Madoff's lawyers say they will appeal his incarceration before trial. Hopefully it will be swiftly rejected.

As for his permanent accomodations, I'm sure that his able lawyers will try to get the Shtunk confined to something other than the maximum security prison that he deserves. Bloomberg suggests today that he is in for some hard time, with other prisoners blaming him for the crash.

Fat chance. I'm sure that, as a nonviolent offender, the Shtunk will be segreated from inmates who can do him any harm.

© 2009 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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