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Epstein's Prison Situation Had Recently Changed

He was no longer with a roommate, wasn't being checked as he should have
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2019 2:15 PM CDT
New York City medical examiner personnel leave their vehicle and walk to the Manhattan Correctional Center where financier Jeffrey Epstein died by suicide while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges,...   (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

(Newser) – As news of Jeffrey Epstein's death broke on Saturday, the same question was asked over and over: Was he on suicide watch at the time of his death—and if not, why not? The New York Times reports that while Epstein had been on suicide watch after he was found with injuries consistent with a suicide attempt on July 23, it was decided six days later that he should be taken off suicide watch—with conditions. He was to bunk with a cellmate in a special housing unit and receive a check from a guard every 30 minutes. But the Times' sources say that cellmate had recently been moved, and the guard checks didn't occur the night before Epstein's apparent suicide.

The reasons for the changes are "unclear," though one of the sources did say that both guards who were on duty in Epstein's unit at the Metropolitan Correctional Center were working overtime, with one of them logging his fifth straight day of it. NBC News spoke with former prison wardens who were perplexed by the move. One offered this take: "I would have a staff member sitting there or have a camera on him 24/7 while he was in my custody, purely to cover my butt. I know that sounds tacky, but this is not your average inmate." CNBC reports Epstein's autopsy results should be in by Sunday afternoon. (The FBI and DOJ are investigating.)

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