While many questions remain unanswered after the shocking news of wealthy financier and alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide, reports from sources familiar with the conditions of the Manhattan facility in which he was being held have begun to trickle in.
One of those reports from sources familiar with the Metropolitan Correctional Center’s internal operations reported to the Associated Press on Sunday that the guards in charge of the unit in which Epstein was being held were working heavy overtime.
An anonymous source told the Associated Press that one of the guards working in the Special Housing Unit of the jail was working their fifth day of overtime in a row. Another guard was reportedly working mandatory overtime at the time of Epstein’s death.
That revelation comes on the heels of what appears to be a potential series of systematic failures at the prison, as The New York Times reported on Sunday that guards at the jail failed to follow special protocols while Epstein was being held.
A law enforcement official reported that guards should have been checking on Epstein every 30 minutes, except that reportedly didn’t happen the night that led up to Epstein’s death.
Making matters worse, the same law enforcement source told The New York Times that Epstein was left alone in his cell after his cellmate was transferred out, which was not in accordance with policy.
In late July, Epstein was found unconscious in his cell with marks on his neck after he reportedly tried to commit suicide. He was placed on suicide watch after the attempt but according to Reuters, he was no longer on suicide watch at the time of his death.
A former prison official told the Associated Press that taking Epstein off of suicide watch would have required the approval of the jail’s warden along with approval from the facility’s chief psychologist.
— The Hill (@thehill) August 11, 2019
Multiple investigations were immediately launched following news of Epstein’s mysterious suicide death, including one by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and another opened by the U.S. Department of Justice. Attorney General William Barr said in a statement that he was “appalled” by the failings that led to Epstein’s death and that the issue “raises serious questions.”
Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee Sen. Ben Sasse penned a blistering letter to AG Barr on Saturday demanding that “heads must roll.”
“Every single person in the Justice Department — from your Main Justice headquarters staff all the way to the night-shift jailer — knew that this man was a suicide risk, and that his dark secrets couldn’t be allowed to die with him,” Sasse wrote.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. For readers outside the U.S., visit Suicide.org or Befrienders Worldwide for international resources you can use to find help.