Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Night 66° Clear
News >  Nation/World

Ghislaine Maxwell has returned to Florida — but this time in a prison uniform

July 25, 2022 Updated Mon., July 25, 2022 at 7:49 p.m.

This undated file photo of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell at the Queen's log cabin at Glen Beg, Balmoral, Scotland, was recovered during an FBI raid at Epstein's Upper East Side mansion in 2019 and entered into evidence on Dec. 7, 2021.   (SDNY/ZUMA Press Wire/TNS)
This undated file photo of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell at the Queen's log cabin at Glen Beg, Balmoral, Scotland, was recovered during an FBI raid at Epstein's Upper East Side mansion in 2019 and entered into evidence on Dec. 7, 2021.  (SDNY/ZUMA Press Wire/TNS)
By Ben Wieder Miami Herald

Ghislaine Maxwell has returned to Florida, though under far different circumstances than her previous time as lady of the house at ex-boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion.

The accomplice of the deceased financier Epstein has been sent to FCI Tallahassee, the low-security federal prison in Tallahassee. Her earliest release would be in July 2037.

Maxwell was convicted at the end of the year of sexual trafficking of a minor and related charges. Federal prosecutors demonstrated at her trial last year that Maxwell had recruited and groomed numerous girls for Epstein’s abuse, including at his Palm Beach mansion, and had participated in the abuse herself in at least one instance. The girls were as young as 14 when Maxwell first began to befriend them and normalize them to participating in sexual activity.

Maxwell’s attorneys had requested that she be placed in the low-security federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut, to serve her 20-year sentence, citing the prison’s Female Integrated Treatment, or FIT, Program, a program for victims of substance abuse and trauma and women with mental health problems. Ahead of her sentencing last month, Maxwell had disclosed that she had suffered physical and emotional abuse during her childhood, including at the hands of her father, the deceased media tycoon Robert Maxwell.

The Tallahassee prison doesn’t offer the FIT Program, but does offer a program for survivors of abuse struggling with low self-esteem and a cognitive behavioral therapy program to treat the “trauma-related mental health needs of inmates.”

The Bureau of Prisons declined to discuss the specific reasons for why Maxwell was placed in Tallahassee rather than Danbury, but told the Miami Herald that it “routinely receives judicial recommendations and weighs a number of factors regarding designation to a facility.”

The bureau added that some of those factors include “the level of security and supervision the inmate requires, any medical or programming needs, separation and security measures to ensure the inmates protection, and other considerations including proximity to an individual’s release residence.”

Maxwell’s move to the prison in Tallahassee was first reported by the Daily Mail.

She had been housed at a federal detention center in Brooklyn since soon after her July 2020 arrest, where she complained bitterly about the conditions, which included regular wellness checks and isolation. Ahead of her sentencing, Maxwell was formally placed on suicide watch after writing to the Office of the Inspector General for the Bureau of Prisons that she felt threatened by prison officials at her facility.

Epstein died by suicide while in federal custody at a federal prison in New York in August 2019, soon after being arrested on a fresh round of sex charges. More than a decade earlier, Epstein had reached a deal with federal prosecutors that ultimately allowed him to serve 13 months in a Palm Beach County jail for abusing dozens of girls. He agreed to plead guilty to two charges of solicitation as part of the deal, one of a minor. The deal was the subject of the Miami Herald’s 2018 Perversion of Justice series and led federal prosecutors in New York to revisit Epstein’s crimes and bring new charges against him in July 2019.

Maxwell apologized to victims of Epstein’s abuse at the sentencing last month in New York, but stopped short of taking responsibility for the suffering they experienced at her and Epstein’s hands.

She has maintained her innocence and is appealing her conviction and sentence. She recently hired a new attorney, former New York state appeals court judge John M. Leventhal, to represent her in her appeal.

As part of her sentence, Maxwell will be added to the national sex offender registry, but that has yet to be done.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.