Inside Rikers, IMF Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s New Jail Residence

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REUTERS / Mike Segar

International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn departs a New York Police Department precinct in New York late May 15, 2011

International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn will now be spending his nights at Rikers Island, New York City’s notorious jail complex. That’s a far cry from a lush New York hotel suite.

The French-born Strauss-Kahn, who faces seven criminal charges, including the attempted rape of a hotel maid, was denied bail and will remain in the jail until his hearing on Friday. Most of Strauss-Kahn’s fellow inmates inside the complex are also awaiting trial.

(MORE: See how Strauss-Kahn’s arrest has disrupted the French presidential race)

Located in the Bronx near LaGuardia Airport, Rikers Island was named after Abraham Rycken, who settled there in 1638. His descendants later sold the plot of land to New York City in 1884 for $180,000. Used as a training ground for regiments during the Civil War, the city opened a jail there in 1932. Ever since then, it has been used as a corrective facility.

The jail complex covers 413 acres, or roughly half the size of Central Park. Rikers is somewhat like its own town thanks to its sheer size: there are schools, medical clinics, ball fields, chapels, grocery stores and more. Operating on a budget of $860 million per year, it contains about 14,000 inmates.

Strauss-Kahn will be moved to Riker Island’s West Facility, one of the ten jails that comprise the complex. The smallest jail there, the West Facility is typically used to house prisoners with contagious diseases. It typically houses about 30 inmates, but Strauss-Kahn will not be allowed to contact or be near the other prisoners due to the high-profile nature of his case.

(More on TIME.comSee how Strauss-Kahn’s arrest will affect the IMF)

Each cell in the West Facility is about 11 by 14 feet, and it’s been reported that the cell of the IMF chief will contain some natural light. Other than that, Strauss-Kahn will be given the typical prisoner treatment: he will eat his meals in his cell, be allowed outdoor exercise for an hour each day, and will be able to receive visitors. It’s been reported that Strauss-Kahn will also be able “to walk in the corridors and areas adjacent to his cell from time to time during the day.”

Just before the arrest, Dominique Strauss-Kahn was considered a future contender for the French presidency. His court date is set for Friday.

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