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As Former IMF Chief Readies to Leave Jail, A Look at Life in Home Detention

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn spent at least one more night in his 11-by-13-foot cell on Rikers Island before he will move into a Manhattan apartment rented by his wife in accordance with a bail package he was granted on Thursday. Now, he is headed the way of many high-profile defendants: house arrest.

Strauss-Kahn, 62, had his first bail application rejected by a judge, but was granted bail Thursday with conditions that include $1 million cash bail, a $5 million insurance bond, surrender of his travel documents and 24-hour surveillance.

The details of Strauss-Kahn’s specific house arrest arrangement have not been released, but Strauss-Kahn's lawyer, William Taylor, called the court-ordered house arrest arrangement "the most restrictive possible condition."

Private security firm Security USA has handled high-profile, court-ordered home detentions in the past. Clark Pena, who works for the firm, said the specifics of each case is different — like whether the detainee can use computers, phones and have visitors — but most clients have screening process and must log all visitors if they are permitted.

"Everyone has to be searched," Pena said. "It's like visiting a correctional institution. They’re in their own home — true fact. But we're the overseer of everything that goes on in this individual’s home."

Security personnel is often made up retired police officers. In high-profile federal cases, like in the case of Bernard Madoff, these guards stand watch over detainees' every move and file a log every hour. They also make notes of any visitors and trips away from the apartment for medical reasons.

Pena said the cost of maintaining 24-hour surveillance, with two men working eight-hour shifts can run between $60 and $80 an hour.

Assistant District Attorney John McConnell said Strauss-Kahn’s home detention would cost $200,000 a month and is being organized by Anthony Valenti, the managing director of Stroz Friedberg. Vaelnti declined to comment on his latest client.

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