Image: Metropolitan Correctional Center cell
AP
Many inmates at the Metropolitan Correctional Center share a 7 1/2-by-8 feet. It wasn't immediately know if Bernard Madoff would have a cellmate.
updated 3/12/2009 7:51:20 PM ET 2009-03-12T23:51:20

Bernard Madoff's new Manhattan home is the size of a walk-in closet, with cinderblock walls, linoleum floors and a bunk bed. Breakfast will be served before sunrise, and the disgraced financier can stretch his legs outside, but only every other day — in a cage.

The Metropolitan Correctional Center, which has housed accused terrorists and reputed mobsters, welcomed the 70-year-old Madoff on Thursday after he pleaded guilty in one of Wall Street's biggest investment swindles and a judge revoked his bail.

The federal jail in lower Manhattan stands between a courthouse and a church and holds inmates awaiting trial or serving short sentences. Currently, about 750 men and women are behind bars there.

Since his arrest in December, Madoff has been confined to his $7 million penthouse apartment.

When inmates first arrive at the jail, they are given physical and psychological exams and instructed on the rules. If cleared to enter the general population, they are issued a baggy brown uniform and assigned to cells measuring 7 1/2-by-8 feet, each fitted with a sink and toilet.

Many inmates must share their cells with another prisoner, but it was not immediately clear Thursday whether Madoff would have a cellmate.

There's a strict schedule: Lights on at 6 a.m., breakfast at 6:30 a.m., lunch at 11 a.m., dinner at 5 p.m., lights out at 11 p.m. During the day, inmates can watch television, play ping pong, work on their cases in a legal library or volunteer for janitorial duty.

On alternate days, they are allowed up on the caged roof, where from courthouse windows they can be seen playing basketball. For court dates, they are shackled and escorted by deputy marshals through an underground tunnel.

The facility alots three hours a week for visits by family or lawyers. Inmates can also spend up to 300 minutes per month making phone calls, which can be monitored.

Those who misbehave or present a risk of violence are sent to a separate unit where they spend nearly all day locked in their cells and must endure strip searches and constant monitoring by cameras.

Authorities tightened security in the unit after a guard was seriously injured in 2000 by a terrorist convicted in the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

Notable inmates have included blind sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, who was sentenced to life in prison for plotting to blow up five New York landmarks and assassinate Egypt's president, and John "Junior" Gotti, the Gambino crime family scion now jailed in Brooklyn on murder charges.

Current inmates include former Florida hedge fund manager Arthur Nadel, who is accused of bilking investors out of up to $350 million.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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