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When the rap star Lil Wayne was sent to Rikers Island correctional facility last year on a gun possession charge, his fans, many of them familiar with the etiquette of prisons, lit up the internet with commentary: “At least he didn’t bitch out and ask for ad seg,” observed one. “Ad seg” is “administrative segregation”: a term that refers to any inmate’s separation from the general prison population. Prisoners in ad seg have all sorts of reasons for being there, including illness, violent tendencies and fame—the last being, presumably, the reason Dominique Strauss-Kahn was placed in a one-man cell on…

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