As details continue to emerge about the circumstances surrounding the death of Jeffrey Epstein, reports reveal that one of the guards on duty at the New York prison where he died was not a regular correctional officer.
When the accused sex trafficker was found Saturday morning after he reportedly hanged himself in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, the two guards assigned to keep an eye on him had reportedly not checked on him for hours, and one of them was not a regular prison guard, according to The Washington Post.
(Video: Fox News)
Guards on duty in Epstein’s special unit of New York City’s federal prison, who were supposed to be checking on the high-profile inmate every 30 minutes, had been working overtime shifts due to personnel shortages, according to the president of the local union for staffers.
“If it wasn’t Mr. Epstein, it would have been somebody else, because of the conditions at that institution,” Serene Gregg, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 3148, told The Washington Post.
“It wasn’t a matter of how it happened or it happening, but it was only a matter of time for it to happen. It was inevitable. Our staff is severely overworked,” Gregg said, noting that one of the corrections officers assigned to the special unit was forced to work overtime by management and the second was working his fourth or fifth consecutive day.
And one of those individuals didn’t normally work as a correctional officer, according to Gregg, who said the federal lockup has been seriously understaffed with less than 70 percent of the needed correctional officers.
The union president had told supervisors “it’s only a matter of time before we have a loss of life” due to personnel shortages.
“It’s daunting — mentally, physically. I would feel confident in saying that some of that contributed to the unfortunate death of inmate Epstein,” she said, though she noted to The Washington Post that she couldn’t be certain as she was not privy to the details of the investigation.
Epstein, who was being held without bail while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, was apparently taken off of suicide watch after daily psychiatric evaluations. The evaluations followed his failed attempt to take his own life in July. Initial reports of his death on Saturday sparked immediate questions about how prison personnel failed to prevent the suicide if, indeed, he was under 24-hour watch.
Later reports indicated that Epstein had been taken off the extra supervision after a week of the evaluations and that his cellmate was moved on Friday, just hours before the disgraced billionaire hanged himself.
Autopsy results of the 66-year-old billionaire have not yet been released “pending further information at this time,” according to Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson.
Canary was singing? No video in Epstein’s cell, guards working extreme OT, cellmate transferred out https://t.co/dQTfrjvSS8
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) August 12, 2019
Attorney General William Barr announced Monday that the Department of Justice would investigate “serious irregularities” at the Metropolitan Correctional Center where Epstein was being held and they would “get to the bottom” of what happened.
“We are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and demand a thorough investigation,” Barr said. “The FBI and the Office of Inspector General are doing just that.”
“Let me assure you this case will continue on against anyone who was complicit with Epstein,” he added. “Any co-conspirators should not rest easy. The victims deserve justice and they will get it.”