A recent probe by the Department of Justice (DOJ) into the suicide of convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who died in his cell while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, has attributed his death to a series of missteps by the federal Bureau of Prisons.
Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who led the investigation, stated that Epstein’s suicide was a result of a “combination of negligence, misconduct and outright job performance failures.”
Issues outlined in Horowitz’s report ranged from persistent staffing shortages and overworked employees leading to inadequate inmate supervision, to problems with surveillance cameras and Epstein’s cell containing an excess of bed linens, which he used to end his life. Specifically, Epstein’s cell was left without a new inmate after a previous one departed, contrary to standard procedure.
Horowitz revealed that the severity of the failures was such that he recommended charges against six of the 13 employees implicated in the poor performance.
Two of these, correction officers Nova Noel and Michael Thomas, had been on duty at the time of Epstein’s death and were subsequently charged with falsifying logs. These officers, both working overtime, admitted to sleeping and shopping online when they should have been checking on Epstein every 30 minutes.
The investigation also dismissed conspiracy theories around Epstein’s death, affirming the absence of foul play. Prior to his suicide, Epstein had been under suicide watch for over a month due to an earlier attempt that resulted in scrapes and bruises on his neck.
Scott Taylor, a spokesperson for the Bureau of Prisons, said the agency has since implemented “several enhanced practices”, such as reviewing video footage from restrictive housing units, regular inmate counts by lieutenants, obligatory reports on solo inmates, and suicide prevention training for staff.
Taylor stated, “We make every effort to create a controlled environment within our facilities that is both secure and humane, prioritizing the physical and emotional well-being of those in our care and custody.” Nevertheless, the multimillionaire’s suicide denied his victims, many of whom were underage girls when they were abused, their day in court.