As the scandal of Jeffrey Epstein remains ongoing, we have to wonder what happened in that jail cell during his last hours. Whether you believe Epstein committed suicide or that he was murdered, most people can agree that the prison in this case was incredibly negligent.
We reached out to criminal defense lawyer Matthew Meyer for his take on how the last hours of Epstein’s life looked. Meyer’s firm only practices criminal defense, so he has significant experience working with in-custody clients and the issues they face.
While in custody, inmates are often interrupted by correctional officers every 15 to 30 minutes. Whether the inmate is sleeping, using the bathroom, or reading, some contact is required to ensure there aren’t any issues.
On August 10, 2019, the night of Epstein’s death, it’s alleged that correctional officers Tova Noel and Michael Thomas failed to conduct their required 30-minute rounds between 12am and 6:30am. Both correctional officers signed off on the rounds, indicating that they’d completed them with no issue. Clearly, someone lied here.
Counting inmates every 30 minutes is a menial task, but it’s one that must absolutely be conducted by correctional officers. That’s how we prevent incidents like Epstein’s death. So what happened?
It’s extremely concerning that Mr. Epstein was left alone for approximately 6 hours before he was found with a noose around his neck.
That’s six hours of unchecked time that he must have spent either orchestrating his own suicide, or being killed. The lack of clarity surrounding the incident makes it even more eerie; if the guards hadn’t failed to check on Epstein, we would have known.
When the government takes custody of inmates, they cannot simply lock them up and forget about them. Instead, it’s the government’s responsibility to protect these inmates from other inmates, self-harm, and the harmful actions of others. The prison system failed in a major way.
Epstein’s death robbed his victims of closure and justice. The man submitted multiple women to sex trafficking and abuse over the years. And somehow, he escaped punishment through death.
In a world where Hollywood scandals come in waves, we at least need to be able to count on the prison system and legal system to be conducted properly. Unfortunately, we have a long way to go.