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Questions about a Jailhouse Suicide

W. Scott Cole

Posted on August 12, 2019 20:43

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Jeffry Epstein was found dead in his jail cell Saturday morning. The official determination of his cause of death was suicide by hanging. Was it really suicide, or something more?

First, let’s straighten out the terminology. Many news reports say that he was found dead in his prison cell. He was not in prison. He was in jail. Jail is where a person is kept who has been charged with a crime but is not yet convicted. Prison is where convicted felons serve their sentence. A person who has not been convicted of the charges against him is never held for trial in a prison.

So, Jeffry Epstein was in a federal jail. He was being housed in the Special Housing Unit, or SHU. The SHU is a maximum security unit for disciplinary purposes but is also used for housing inmates in fear for their lives, which Epstein claimed to be. That would be understandable, considering the charges against him.

He had tried suicide just the week before and had been on suicide watch for six days. An inmate on suicide watch is under observation 24 hours a day and held in a “suicide prevention” cell. That cell is no more than a bare room with no bunk, no mattress, and no fixtures. The inmate wears a thin tear away paper smock that doubles as a blanket for sleeping. It’s not a good place to be.

Epstein had been removed from suicide watch and, according to his lawyers on Friday, was in good spirits and adjusting to the realities of his new life.

He was found on Saturday morning hanging from the top bunk of his cell. In order for a person to commit suicide by hanging in such a manner, he has to be determined. The only way to do it is to tie one end of the bed sheet around the top bunk rail, the other end around his neck, get on his knees and lean forward, in essence strangling himself, which can take time.

In the SHU, staff is required to make rounds often enough to make suicide by hanging in such a method almost impossible because of the time it takes for death to occur. On Saturday morning, those rounds were not being made in a timely manner, according to the BOP. Their excuse is that the facility is severely understaffed and the guards were at the end of an 80 hour work week. It was close to shift change so they were looking forward to going home.

So, were they not making rounds because they were tired and looking forward to going home? Had they noticed red flags that indicated he might try suicide again and just decided they would stay away from his cell and let it happen? Did they turn their backs while another inmate entered the cell and “helped” him commit “suicide”?  All three questions are relevant because all three situations have happened before many times. All three raise many more questions that need answers, but will we ever find out what really happened to Jeffry Epstein last Saturday morning?

W. Scott Cole

Posted on August 12, 2019 20:43

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Source: CBS Miami
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Florida politicians are reacting to the apparent suicide of accused sex trafficker and South Florida financier...

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