Riches to Rags: What Life Is Like Behind Bars for IMF Chief

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the International Monetary Fund, went from luxury suite to solitary prison cell after he allegedly tried to rape a maid in a posh Midtown hotel over the weekend. Now, the 62-year-old will spend a handful of nights in a prison where the only amenities available to him include a plastic drinking cup, toothpaste and a removable mattress.

Strauss-Kahn was arraigned Monday on charges that include attempted rape and will spend time in Rikers Island prison after a judge deemed him a flight risk because of his high profile and the absence of an extradition treaty between France and America and denied his lawyer's offer or $1 million bail.

The IMF chief, considered a contender for the French presidency, was staying on the 28th floor of the Sofitel, where suites start at $3,000 (although he reportedly paid $800) and the rooms are equipped with high-speed Internet, Queen or King-sized beds with feather comforter, two telephones and a separate bath and shower. Rooms also boast flat screen TVs and Bose radios, standard in rooms where the square feet is between 350 and 400.

Now, Strauss-Kahn is confined to an 11-by-13-foot cell in the West Facility, an area of Rikers Island reserved for inmates in need of protective custody, like Strauss-Kahn, or those with contagious diseases. He has been given no special amenities, and like all inmates has been given a standard issue plastic drinking cup, toothpaste, tooth brush, bedding and a removable mattress and prison clothing.

There is a small TV in his cell, although a spokesperson for the prison could not confirm if there are cable channels.

If Strauss-Kahn wants, he can open an account with the prison and purchase an AM/FM radio, the only electronic device he can bring into his cell. Snacks are also available there as well if the three daily meals are not sufficient.

Inmates are allowed one hour of recreation time a day, and because of Strauss-Kahn’s high profile, like his solitary cell, his recreation time is also conducted alone, free of other inmates.

Strauss-Kahn is not allowed to make outgoing calls, but can receive incoming — though they are all monitored by police.

He can receive packages, but they can only be either reading materials or clothing.

Strauss-Kahn is expected to appear in scheduled face a grand jury on May 20.


Sofitel Hotel: New York, NY

West Facility: Rikers Island, NY


350-400 square feet

11/13 feet


"SoBed" with down comforter and top mattress, described as "a unique occasion to benefit from deliciously comfortable sleep during your stay."

Single removable mattress, standard issue sheets.


Flat screen TV, Bose radio, high speed Internet, gym, bar.

One small TV, one hour of recreation time alone outdoors, reading materials, an AM/FM radio (if purchased at the prison store.


Gaby Restaurant with contemporary French cuisine, Gaby Bar, 24-hour room service, mini-bar.

Breakfast is served between 5-6 a.m., lunch is at 11 a.m., dinner is about 5 p.m. Snacks are available for purchase at prison store.


High speed Internet access, two telephone lines.

Allowed to make outgoing phone calls, although monitored and recorded by police.

Information on Rikers from spokesperson Stephen Morello