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Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.
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Imagine that you are the warden of the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan, and you have, as a guest in your facility, a very high-profile defendant, one who apparently attempted to commit suicide on July 23, 2019. Knowing that a successful suicide attempt would bring a lot of very negative publicity down on the institution, on you and your subordinates, why would you ever allow him to be taken off suicide watch less than a week later?

Why Wasn’t Jeffrey Epstein on Suicide Watch When He Died?

Prison officials took the disgraced financier off a suicide watch 12 days before he hanged himself in his cell. His death has raised questions about that decision.

By Ali Watkins | August 10, 2019

Yes, that Ali Watkins, the one who was demoted for sleeping with a source. I guess that the Times put her on the jailhouse beat, figuring she couldn’t do too much harm there.

Like all federal prisons, the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan has a suicide prevention program designed for inmates who are at risk of taking their own lives.

After an apparent attempt three weeks ago, Jeffrey Epstein — the financier who was at the facility awaiting trial on charges he sexually abused dozens of girls — was placed on suicide watch and received daily psychiatric evaluations, a person familiar with his detention said.

But just six days later, on July 29, Mr. Epstein, 66, was taken off the watch for reasons that remained unclear on Saturday, the person said. Twelve days after that, he hanged himself. Guards making their morning rounds discovered his body at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, the Bureau of Prisons said.

Mr. Epstein’s suicide, coming shortly after prison officials in Manhattan deemed he was no longer at risk of taking his own life, raises questions about the steps prison officials took to keep him alive and ensure he would face his accusers in court.

To summarize, Mr Epstein was housed in a cell by himself, but was no longer under constant observation. Miss Watkins described the steps which have to be taken to remove a prisoner from suicide watch, and they don’t appear to be frivolous:

Inmates can only be removed from the watch when the program coordinator, who is generally the chief psychologist at the facility, deems they are no longer at imminent risk for suicide, according a 2007 Bureau of Prison document outlining suicide prevention policies. The inmates cannot be removed from the watch without a face-to-face psychological evaluation.

To take an inmate off suicide watch, a “post-watch report” needs to be completed, which includes an analysis of how the inmate’s circumstances have changed and why that merits removal from the watch, the document said.

Were these steps completed? If they were, there would have to be documentation of such. Either we have a chief psychologist who utterly failed in his assessment — a rather quick one, given that the suicide attempt was only six days prior to Mr Epstein being removed from suicide watch — or the specified procedures were not followed.

And even if the procedures were followed, why would the Corrections Center Warden approve it? She had to know, everyone had to know, just what kind of stink would be raised if Mr Epstein did commit suicide.

Naturally, the conspiracy theories are flying, with MSNBC’s Joy Reid blaming the Trump Administration:

While I’ll admit that this is the kind of case that has even me wondering, I’m not generally a conspiracy theory fan, and shall reserve judgement on that.

But I won’t reserve judgement on this: someone failed in his duty at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, failed rather spectacularly, and that someone needs to be held accountable for his failure. The Warden, Shirley Skipper-Scott, whether she was involved in the decision to take Mr Epstein off suicide watch or not, also needs to be held accountable. Whoever failed in this duty needs to be fired.