A Glimpse into SBF’s Life Inside the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn

By  Daniel Cawrey August 16, 2023

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  • The Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn highlights intricacies of the criminal justice system former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried now must navigate
  • Within the MDC, daily life offers challenges, routines and defining moments of prisoners like SBF as he navigates an uncertain future
  • The morning routine begins with the clanging of metal doors, limited movement and confined spaces
  • SBF lives amid the weight of uncertainty as he is now separated from his family and has lost most personal freedoms

The Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn stands as a stark reminder of the complexities within the criminal justice system. Housing individuals like former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) awaiting trial or serving short-term sentences, the facility is a microcosm of lives paused, awaiting a future uncertain.

A day in the life of a crypto fraudster like SBF within the MDC offers a glimpse into the challenges, routines and moments that now shapes his shitty existence.

Morning Routine

MDC Brooklyn. Source: Federal Bureau of Prisons

As the sun timidly rises over Brooklyn, SBF will hear the clanging of metal doors signaling the start of another day within the MDC. SBF will be awakened, often before the sun itself graces the sky, by the sound of corrections officers delivering breakfast trays. The morning routine is a blend of confined spaces, routine searches and limited movement. Personal hygiene, restricted to a small sink and shared facilities, is now a delicate dance in privacy and modesty for SBF.

Educational and Recreational Time

Card shuffling may replace video games for Sam during incarceration. Source: DZ

Within the confines of the MDC, opportunities for education and recreation offer brief reprieves from the monotony of incarceration. SBF can engage in classes, workshops or exercise periods where he can regain a sense of normalcy of his posh life in the Bahamas. These moments offer mental and emotional stimulation, a break from the confines of immediate surroundings. It's a chance to acquire new skills - like showing remorse - that might eventually serve SBF beyond prison walls.


Delectable foods such as moldy cake await Sam in jail. Source: NY Daily News

Meals in the MDC are often a mix of gratitude for sustenance and frustration with the limited choices. Inmates usually gather in common areas, sharing meal times that become opportunities to converse, albeit within the confines of institutional constraints SBF must deal with. Navigating dietary restrictions or preferences for SBF will be a challenge, with menus often focusing on efficiency rather than culinary delight or altruistic tendencies.


MDC has power outages, most notably for a week in 2019. Source: NYT

Visitation hours are a lifeline for inmates at MDC, offering a brief, precious connection to loved ones beyond the prison walls. However, the physical barriers – glass partitions and limited contact – will remind SBF of the separation that persists. Conversations will likely be tinged with both joy and sadness, as SBF attempts to convey experiences and emotions in fleeting moments, fueled by his allowed daily intake of stimulants to treat depression and ADHD.

Evening Reflections

Bars will replace windows for Sam as he contemplates. Source: El Pais

As evening approaches, SBF will have plenty of time to reflect on another day that has passed. However, the quiet moments in a cell can be introspective for Sam, offering him time for self-improvement. Or, conversely, in SBF's case, hopefully the weight of regret. As the day's routines begin to unwind, the prison's hum of activity will become more subdued as lights out approaches.

Lights Out

The standard cell at MDC includes a metal bed and toilet. Source: The City

An evening in the life of a prisoner within the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn embodies a complex interplay of challenges and moments of hope. The facility's lights dim, marking the transition into night. SBF will perhaps read, write or simply lay in silence and consider which gang to eventually join for the long-haul. The darkness will offer a moment of solitude to ponder, a chance to process the day, and to anticipate the cycle beginning anew with the rising sun.

A Microcosm of Struggle and Hope

Sam is isolated from society and has lost personal freedoms. Source: The Intercept

While the MDC facility is bound by strict routines and physical limitations, the spirit of resilience from SBF will have to persist. Each day presents a chance for SBF's own self-discovery, personal growth, and pursuit of connection with others both within and beyond the prison walls. Ultimately, the story of life within the MDC will end up being a testament to the strength of SBF's human spirit, regardless of the circumstances he finds himself in.