William Barr Says There Were “Serious Irregularities” In Jail Where Jeffrey Epstein Died
“I was appalled and frankly angry to learn of the (Metropolitan Correctional Center’s) failure to adequately secure this prisoner,” Barr said in a speech to law enforcement officials in New Orleans.
“We are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and demand a thorough investigation,” he added.
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The Justice Department — which oversees federal prison facilities like the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan where Epstein was held — has faced strong rebukes from lawmakers following the late financier’s death. Both the FBI and the Justice Department Inspector General’s Office are probing Epstein’s death.
Barr said the case surrounding Epstein, who was charged with sexually abusing and trafficking underage girls during the early and mid-2000s, was “personally” important to him.
Several new outlets reported that the Lower Manhattan jail where Epstein was being held is one that, like many around the country, has become increasingly understaffed and overcrowded with inmates and where morale has dropped. Reports have said many security guards, like one of the two in charge of watching Epstein, are forced to work several long overtime shifts and that they even sometimes end up requesting help from inmates to guard other convicted felons.
The pair of guards in charge of watching Epstein were reportedly supposed to check on him every 30 minutes, although an official said that in reality “a number of hours” passed in between these checks. It remains unclear exactly how many hours elapsed in between checks on Epstein.
Another irregularity that occurred at the facility where Epstein was serving time was the late financier’s cellmate was released on Friday and did not get replaced. This violates the Bureau of Prisons protocols for that specific unit in the jail.
Although the medical examiner in Epstein’s case said the late financier likely died of suicide by hanging, an initial autopsy report proved inconclusive.