[Editor’s Note: Following a beating administered to Keith Raniere by several inmates, Raniere has been moved out of General Population at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. The technical name for where Keith Raniere is now housed is called the Special Housing Unit or SHU. It is akin to solitary confinement insofar as Raniere is confined to his small, locked cell 23 hours per day. He is allowed one hour out per day for recreation outside of his cell. He is handcuffed for the entire hour. He is also accorded, as is true for all pretrial detainees, the right to visit with his attorneys. When they visit, Raniere is stripped searched and an inspection is made of his anal cavity – on the way to the attorney’s visitor’s room and stripped searched again when he leaves, prior to going back to his cell.]
By K. R. Claviger
And so it begins…
Being incarcerated is hard.
Being incarcerated at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) is harder.
Being incarcerated at the MDC and being hated by your fellow prisoners is the hardest.
But that’s what Keith Alan Raniere AKA The Vanguard now faces every day.
And here’s a little advice for The Vanguard: After you get convicted – and there’s a 97% chance of that happening – your next prison is not going to be any better.
Welcome to Hell on Earth.
Raniere’s brief stay in MDC’s general population is over – and he’s asked not to be put back there.
For the next couple of weeks, he’ll be staying in MDC’s Special Housing Unit (SHU).
That’s because he was involved in an altercation with a couple of other prisoners.
Actually, “altercation” may not be quite the right word to describe the incident involving Raniere and a couple of other inmates.
No more than “boxing match” was the right word to describe what Mike Tyson’s opponents were in when they fought Tyson.
Raniere was badly beaten. He was knocked to the ground and kicked in the head. He did not start the fight.
In any event, regardless of who’s involved in an “altercation” – or what caused it – MDC’s policy is always the same: Throw everyone who was involved into the SHU for a couple of weeks while things get sorted out.
The SHU at MDC is an especially harsh place to spend time.
Prisoners in the SHU are in lockdown 23 hours per day. No television, very limited visitation rights (except for attorneys), very limited phone privileges, showers only every 4-5 days (which won’t bother Raniere), very limited commissary, no extra clothes, no locker to store things in, no windows, no library privileges (a cart of books comes around once a week or so), and on and on.
His food – in pre-measured portions – is brought to him at his cell, often cold and with no extras ever accorded.
Just prior to the “altercation”, Raniere had asked to be moved back to the Sex Offenders Unit because he had been verbally threatened by several other inmates in general population.
He was living in great fear for his personal safety.
As often happens in prison, Raniere has been outed for what he is: an arrogant, cult leader who raped underage girls, branded women with his initials, had criminal charges brought against his enemies, and pissed away millions upon millions of dollars.
None of those are considered positive attributes among prisoners.
Which is why the other prisoners in general population started fucking with him so much.
Calling him “Gushing Guru”, “Keith Manson”, and “Fuck Boy” – and those are the nicer nicknames.
Stealing or breaking his glasses over and over again.
Throwing his rolls of toilet paper into the trash.
Making sure his commissary order is the last one that’s delivered.
Refusing to sit with him.
Refusing to talk to him.
Making him fearful 24/7.
In other words, treating him exactly the way he deserves to be treated.
The American criminal system may be need of some serious reform – but every once in a while, it works just fine.
And so, the once mighty and arrogant Vanguard is now just a shell of his former self.
Not eating very much – which explain the weight loss that several observers noticed at last Thursday’s Status Conference.
Continuing to experience very high blood pressure – and, more recently, a rather severe stomach virus.
And sobbing in his bunk almost every night.
Given Raniere’s deterioration over the past eleven months, it’s hard to imagine him actually making it through a 15-year or 20-year sentence.
But given the fact that his backstory will follow him wherever he ends up serving his sentence, you can be sure that every day he does survive will be unimaginably miserable.