The 22-year-old Dutchman is charged with murdering Peruvian business student Stephany Flores, 21, in his Lima hotel room May 30.
He's also the chief suspect in the 2005 disappearance in Aruba of Alabama teen Natalee Holloway - but he's never been charged.
Van der Sloot was taken to the Miguel Castro Castro prison on the outskirts of Lima where, reports CBS News Correspondent Elaine Quijano, he was strip-searched, X-rayed and given a medical exam.
That facility, observes CBS News legal analyst Trent Copeland, is "a place with poor nutrition, lack of sanitation, overcrowding -- immense overcrowding, and where epidemic levels of HIV and tuberculosis are known to exist."
Van der Sloot is being kept from the prison's general population, and is said to fear for his life.
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"I'm not certain," Copeland says, "van der Sloot can do anything to assure himself that he's gonna survive this Peruvian prison system. … So, if he's concerned about this, I think the only thing that he can do to protect himself is to stay low and keep himself out of harm's way."
International defense attorney Michael Griffith has been inside another prison in Peru - one where, experts say, van der Sloot could well land, and described ultra-dangerous, hideous conditions to "Early Show" co-anchor Erica Hill Tuesday, saying flat-out he'd "be surprised" if van der Sloot survives to the end of his sentence.
Griffith had a client in another Lurigancho Prison.
"The prison (currently housing van der Sloot) is one of the toughest prisons, along with Lurigancho," Griffith says. "I've been in prisons in over two dozen countries. In fact, I was the lawyer for Billy Hayes from the movie 'Midnight Express,' and the Turkish prison is a Ritz-Carlton compared to this.
"There's about 10,000 prisoners for 3,000 spaces. This and another prison where he's gonna go afterwards, Lurigancho, has dormitories of about 600 prisoners in each. The showers run once a week for 15 minutes. There's only 12 showers. They're in rooms of about 25-by-15 (feet) with about 35 prisoners. About seven or eight sleep on the floor. There's a hole for a toilet.
"And it's a very, very brutal place."
Can van der Sloot live out his sentence, assuming he's convicted and however long it runs?
"It's gonna be really tough. In Miguel Castro Castro, believe it or not, the first day the warden took his position there about a year or two ago, he was murdered.
"In Lurigancho, you have the Shining Path guerillas. There's about 600 of them. They had a revolt one day, about 124 were killed by the police. When I went to visit a client of mine there, I had to hire two-guards to walk me through the Shining Path guerilla territory. The next day, I thought it would be better if my client visited me in the holding area - in the visiting area. And a prisoner got stabbed ten feet away from me. If he wants to survive there, he's really gonna hafta keep a low profile.
"He's gonna probably have to stay in what's called 'the tourist section,' or 'the tourist dorm.' But even prisoners outside can get in there. They shine shoes, they cook for the foreign prisoners. But in this prison, you can get anything -- you can get women, drug, weapons, you can get money. For $50, someone will cut your throat. If the family of this young lady wanted to pay a prisoner there 50 or 100 bucks, they'd be standing in line to cut his throat."
In turn, could van der Sloot's family pay prisoners to protect him?
"No," Griffith said bluntly. "I mean, if they want to get you in this prison, they'll get you. In fact, the day that I was there, I got back to the gate a little bit late and the guard wanted to keep me in overnight. So for a couple of cigarettes, he let me out.
"Money will get you anything in this prison and I'll tell you, I'd be very surprised if van der Sloot makes the seven or eight or ten years, whatever he'll get, with time off for good behavior.