With every piece of new information that seeps out about Jeffrey Epstein’s death at a federal New York City prison this past weekend, the prison’s operations more closely resemble something straight out of Mr. Bean.
Following Tuesday’s revelation that the warden of the Metropolitan Correctional Center had been temporarily reassigned and the two guards in charge of watching Epstein had been placed on leave, the New York Times reported on Tuesday night that the two guards for the jail’s special housing unit fell asleep for “some or all” of three hours, a period in which they didn’t check on Epstein at all; check-ups are required every 30 minutes. If that wasn’t bad enough, the two guards then allegedly falsified those records, which seems a lot like a crime.
Epstein allegedly tried to kill himself on July 23, but was taken off of suicide watch six days later. He was alone in his cell at the time of his death; CBS News reported on Tuesday that “shrieking” was heard in his cell the morning he died.
Making matters even worse is that one of the two staffers apparently wasn’t even an active guard, per the Times:
One of the staff members was a former correctional officer who had taken a different position at the detention center that did not involve guarding detainees. He had volunteered to work again as a correctional officer for the extra overtime pay, a law enforcement official and an employee at the jail said.
The second officer, a woman who was assigned to that wing, had been ordered to work overtime because the jail was short staffed.
While the two (as of yet unidentified) guards have been placed on leave, the MCC warden, Lamine N’Diaye, was transferred to a Bureau of Prisons office in Philadelphia pending an investigation, the Times reported. Attorney General William Barr, who reassigned N’Diaye and put the two guards on leave, announced on Saturday that both the FBI and the DOJ’s inspector general would be investigating the prison and how Epstein’s death occurred.
“I was appalled—indeed, the entire Department was—and frankly angry, to learn of the MCC’s failure to adequately secure this prisoner. We are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and that demand a thorough investigation,” Barr said during a speech before the Fraternal Order of Police conference in New Orleans on Monday. “The FBI and the Office of Inspector General are already doing just that. We will get to the bottom of what happened at the MCC and we will hold people accountable for this failure.”