New information from sources with knowledge of Jeffrey Epstein’s incarceration at a Manhattan jail where he was found dead of an apparent suicide Saturday morning has revealed that Epstein was no longer on suicide watch at the time of his death.
According to the New York Times, a prison official familiar with Epstein’s detention who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of being fired said that Epstein had been taken off suicide watch on July 29, just six days after he was found injured in his cell from a possible suicide attempt, the incident that prompted the additional monitoring.
The prison official told the New York Times that Epstein had been place in a special housing unit, in a private cell. Another prison official, who also spoke anonymously, said that it would have been extremely difficult for Epstein to take his own life if he had remained on suicide watch, which reportedly requires that the inmate be placed in a cell with windows, and be closely monitored by a corrections officer or a specially trained fellow inmate from an adjacent office.
Typically, the prisoner is denied access to anything that he could use to hang himself. It is unclear exactly how Epstein was found hanged, but multiple sources, including those who spoke to the New York Times, have said that he died by hanging.
The New York Times report indicates that special protocols need to be followed in order to take an inmate off suicide watch, including a face-t0-face psychological evaluation. The Bureau of Prisons did not immediately respond to a request from the New York Times to explain further the decision to remove Epstein from suicide watch.
United States Attorney William Barr released a strongly-worded statement on Saturday, calling for an investigation into Epstein’s apparent suicide.
“Mr. Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered,” Barr said, according to the New York Post.
“In addition to the FBI’s investigation, I have consulted with the Inspector General who is opening an investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Epstein’s death.”