Sam Bankman-Fried Faces Difficult Conditions in the Bahamian Prison

  • A judge ordered on Tuesday that Sam Bankman-Fried be sent to the only prison in the Bahamas.
  • According to human rights reports, Fox Hill is known to be overcrowded and has unsanitary conditions.
  • According to reports, Bankman-Fried appeared disappointed in court after the judge’s decision.

Sam Bankman-Fried is headed to a harsh Bahamian prison after a magistrate on Tuesday ordered him to stay in custody until February and denied bail to the former FTX CEO after he was arrested in the country on Monday on US fraud charges.

Authorities in the Bahamas detained Bankman-Fried this week at the request of US officials. A federal criminal indictment released Tuesday indicted Bankman-Fried on multiple charges, including telegram fraud, money laundering and campaign finance violations, in connection with the collapse of one of the largest crypto exchanges earlier this year.

While awaiting extradition to the United States, Bankman-Fried will spend time in the Bahamas’ only prison, Fox Hill correctional facility.

The incarceration rate in the Bahamas is one of the highest in the world, with 409 per 100,000 people detained in the country, according to a 2020 US State Department human rights report. The sheer number of Bahamian inmates means Fox Hill is overcrowded and conditions at the facility are poor as a result.

Inmates are required to stay outside for an hour each day, but understaffed and overcrowding mean there are periods when inmates can see sunlight for only 30 minutes a week, local attorney Romona Farquharson told The Wall Street Journal.

Fox Hill has several different residential facilities, including a women’s block and sections with different levels of security. Those serving short sentences for nonviolent crimes should, in theory, be held separately from those in prison for violent crimes, but space restrictions and overcrowding have resulted in some inmates only awaiting trial. Maximum security facility, Farquharson told The Journal.

A 2021 human rights report by the U.S. State Department on the Bahamas revealed even more about Fox Hill. Inmates at the facility said they had to remove human waste with buckets and were prone to bedsores because they were forced to lie on hard ground for extended periods of time.

The report cited rat, worm, and insect infestations in individual cells measuring only six by ten feet in the maximum security block. Six inmates can share mattresses or small cells with no toilets at a time, according to the report.

Prisoners also suffered from malnutrition, saying they did not have access to nutritional meals and sometimes faced long delays between meals, according to the government report. Prisoners also said they were denied access to emergency medical and psychological care while on Fox Hill.

The report noted that correctional facilities did not properly quarantine inmates during COVID-19 outbreaks, and a 2003 Amnesty report on Fox Hill’s conditions revealed that the facility was prone to highly communicable diseases, including TB.

According to Reuters, Bankman-Fried appeared disappointed in court on Tuesday, bowing her head and hugging her family, after the judge said she posed a “huge” escape risk. A local official told the newspaper that the judge ordered him to first go to the reformatory on the island, where he would be held in the medical department.

Bankman-Fried stepped down from her role at FTX last month after the stock market filed for bankruptcy following a liquidity disaster. Authorities claimed that while he was at the helm of the company, he deceived investors and defrauded customers.

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