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No picnic for DSK at Rikers prison

IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a man accustomed to luxury hotel suites and first-class travel, will make his home for now at New York City's notorious Rikers Island jail.

Mr Strauss-Kahn was transferred from a detention centre attached to the Manhattan Criminal Court to Rikers Island on Monday, and held in protective custody in an 11 by 13-foot (3 by 4 metre) cell, a spokesman for the New York City Department of Correction said.

Both Rikers and the courthouse detention centre, best-known as "The Tombs," are harsh, loud and dangerous. He will be kept from other inmates when he leaves his cell to stretch his legs, watch television in the common room or exercise.

Lights go out at 11pm. He is allowed three visitors a week aside from his lawyer, and he will be given one hour a day for exercise.

Dating to the 1930s, Rikers holds about 11,000 inmates on any given day. So why is Rikers so hated? Its size, and the uncertain future that inmates face, contribute to their anxiety. "Uncertainty breeds tension," said one source familiar with jail operations.

Irish Independent