The Manhattan Metropolitan Correctional Centre’s warden has been temporarily reassigned and two guards placed on leave after accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein died by apparent suicide in his jail cell this weekend.
Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec reportedly said the warden was reassigned to Bureau of Prison’s Northeast Regional Office pending FBI and DOJ inspector general probes into Epstein’s death.
An acting warden was named for the MCC in light of the temporary reassignment. The two MCC guards, who were assigned to keep watch over Epstein at the time of his death, were placed on administrative leave pending the same investigations.
The Department says it will take additional personnel action as warranted.
The shake-up comes after Attorney General William Barr said there were “serious irregularities” at the facility and a “thorough investigation” would take place. Epstein was found unconscious in his cell early Saturday morning and was later pronounced dead at a local hospital.
The Justice Department said the warden of another facility in upstate New York has been named the acting warden at MCC.
Amid revelations about Jeffrey Epstein’s death, authorities have intensified inquiries into what went wrong at the jail and who could still face charges in his case.
A person familiar with the matter says Epstein was supposed to have been checked on by a guard about every 30 minutes. But investigators have learned those checks weren’t done for several hours before Epstein was found Saturday.
That person wasn’t authorised to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Additionally, Serene Gregg, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 3148, tells The Washington Post that one of the guards assigned to Epstein’s unit wasn’t a correctional officer, but a fill-in who had been pressed into service.