Lap Dances, Booze and Bills: Welcome to Miami’s Club Fed

Venezuelan vanities come to play in Miami. The forever boomtown, the city Joan Didion once described as a “Latin capital a year or two away from a new government” has gentrified and softened in the past few decades.

But life at Miami’s downtown maximum-security Federal Detention Center apparently still has its thrills, according to a Miami New Times blog. There, as in a certain infamous South American lock-up, the prisoners reportedly regularly receive lap dances, alcohol (delivered with a straw between thick metal grating),  porn magazines  and large cash deliveries, according to the   Miami New Times

And South American pole dancers posing as “legal assistants” are brought in on boats.

“The majority of these young, very attractive women are noncitizens brought in exclusively for the purposes of visiting the FDC,” defense attorney Hugo Rodriguez told the Miami New Times. “Any lawyer can sign a form and designate a legal assistant. There is no way of verifying it.”

The main beneficiaries of thesee gifts are powerful local drug lords, according to lawyers who spoke to  New Times.

The exact practices are tough to prove — an FDC spokeswoman declined to comment to New Times about goings-on at the prison, and prison officials also refused the paper’s requests for incident reports on  fake paralegals being brought in — but attorneys who spoke to New Times swore to  them.

The situation is not without its irony. While FDC security practices, as spelled out in a 2010 memo first reported by The Miami Herald, make it difficult for female lawyers wearing underwire bras to enter the prison to visit their clients (the sensitive metal detectors are often set off by the women’s under garments), the  “legal assistants” face no such barrier. They arrive, appropriately inappropriate, and can apparently pass through security without a hitch while  their legitimate counterparts are either stuck undressing or delayed by guards who must inspect them with a more sensitive magnetic “wand.”

Subterfuge is less necessary at one prison in Porlamar, Venezuela, where, as the New York Times  reported earlier this year that  ”Prisoners can do anything except leave.”

In Porlamar, reported the New York Times, the signs on the wall indicate a prison, but the smell of marijuana, the sight of half-naked women dancing on the edge of a pool, and the thumping sound of reggae blasting on the speakers imply something more skin to  a lusty spring break.

Teofilo Rodriguez, the inmates’ de facto leader, is called “El Conejo” (“The Rabbit”), a kind of lucky coincidence given the many Playboy magazine logo murals painted on the prison walls.





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