Here are a few things I know firsthand about being in jail. First and foremost, you have virtually no control over your life and surroundings. You can’t get so much as an aspirin without authorization. In most jails, you can’t wear a belt, or shoelaces, or keep a razor in your cell. And in a well-run jail, high-profile prisoners have virtually no chance of killing themselves.
So the alleged suicide of Jeffrey Epstein, the 66-year-old financier with powerful friends who was about to stand trial for allegedly sexually abusing dozens of girls, many of them underage, is particularly unfathomable — and outrageous.
Epstein was placed on suicide watch on July 23 after being found semi-conscious in his cell with marks on his neck, in what prison officials described at the time as a failed suicide attempt. He was removed from suicide watch six days later, on July 29, and returned to a segregated area of the prison with extra security known as the special housing unit.
Officials told me Sunday that the prison’s psychological team had evaluated Epstein on a daily basis after his alleged initial suicide attempt and had found him to be no risk to himself or to others. Officials said that Epstein had met for many hours each day with his legal team, and that both he and his lawyers had repeatedly assured the prison that he did not want to kill himself and had asked MCC to remove him from the suicide watch.
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