R KELLY has been moved into solitary confinement for his own safety in a hellhole jail plagued by coronavirus, drugs, daring escapes and violence.
The disgraced music star is said to have been brutally battered by a fellow inmate who walked into his cramped cell and started punching him repeatedly.
He is currently being held at Chicago's notorious Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC)- which houses up to 680 men and women awaiting justice.
The fallen star is in custody awaiting trial on various charges of sex abuse – all of which he has denied.
He has repeatedly asked to be released from prison, citing the pandemic as a reason, but all his requests have been turned down.
The star also reportedly pleaded to be kept away from other prisoners who may want to teach him a lesson for his alleged crimes.
Kelly's lawyer Steven Greenberg revealed he had now been placed in solitary confinement as that's the only place guards "can protect him".
The 28-story jail is unique in the prison system as every cell has a window- five inch slits offering a glimpse of the outside world.
Its exercise yard is on the roof and can be accessed by inmates every other days for just two hours a time.
However, like other prisons in the system, it has its fair share of problems with drugs, sex and violence.
The triangular-shaped jail – designed by Harry Weese and opened in 1975-is also said to be overcrowded and understaffed.
Just last December, one prisoner died after his throat was slit during a fight with another jailbird.
His lifeless body was found in his cell at 4.30am sparking an internal investigation at the holding house.
And in 2018, a former guard at the MCC admitted smuggling drugs into the prison to an incarcerated Latin Kings gang leader.
According to an FBI search warrant, Felipe Zamora paid the guard thousands of dollars to bring synthetic marijuana into the jail.
Five years earlier, a veteran guard was charged with running a contraband smuggling scheme where relatives of inmates would drop cash through the open window of his Mercedes in a public garage near the jail.
He later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years in prison.
The issue of drugs also surfaced during the trial of reputed Hobos street gang leader Gregory “Bowlegs” Chester who admitted on the witness stand that he regularly used them while being held at the MCC.
The trial eventually had to be delayed after a woman was caught trying to pass balloons of synthetic marijuana – known as K2 – to Chester in a bag of potato chips while they met in the jail’s day room, state court records.
Last year, a religious services worker at the jail, was sentenced to two years of probation for multiple security breaches, including letting inmates use his cellphone to make calls to outsiders.
He even mailed letters on inmates' behalf without going through the usual screening process and let inmates surf the Internet on his computer.
The facility also made the headlines in 2012 when two convicted bank robbers rappelled out of a 15th floor window on a rope made from bed sheets and dental floss.
The escape, by Joseph Banks and Kenneth Conley, was the first from any secure federal correctional facility since April 2006.
At the time it was reported the guard who was meant to be monitoring their cell was busy carrying out other duties.
In February 2010, Sinaloa Cartel leader Vicente Zambada-Niebla was apprehended by Mexican police and extradited to Chicago to face trial.
Considered a high security risk, he was placed in solitary confinement at the MCC.
Based on intelligence that allies of Zambada-Niebla were planning a helicopter escape, he was banned from the rooftop exercise yard.
Bureau of Prisons officials cited the fact that the Sinaloa Cartel has unlimited resources and had succeeded in both prison escapes and assassinations in the past.
He was later moved to a medium-security facility in Michigan which has a ground-level exercise area.
Then, in 2017, the jail was at the center of a bizarre sex scandal when it was revealed strippers had performed for inmates.
It was reported naked women had been spotted cavorting on the roof of a building which is overlooked by the jail.
The inmates are said to have shown their appreciation by whooping out of their windows.
And it was in the news again this year following a huge outbreak of coronavirus within its walls.
In May, The Bureau of Prisons reported 110 of the inmates at the MCC had tested positive for coronavirus. Fourteen staff members had also tested positive.
At the time, Kelly's lawyers argued for his release arguing that keeping him locked up is like "drinking poison."
A letter to the judge explained how Kelly "is within the group of people the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has categorized as most-at-risk for contracting COVID-19."
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