United States to close New York jail where Jeffrey Epstein was found dead

Published on Aug 27, 2021 03:57 PM IST

Jeffrey Epstein, a financier by profession, was found hanging in his cell in the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Lower Manhattan on August 10, 2019, while he was awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. Medical examiners ruled his death as suicide.

The Metropolitan Correctional Center currently has 233 inmates and a majority of them are expected to be transferred to another federal jail in Brooklyn.(AP file photo)
The Metropolitan Correctional Center currently has 233 inmates and a majority of them are expected to be transferred to another federal jail in Brooklyn.(AP file photo)
Written by Harshit Sabarwal | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh, New Delhi

The United States government said it will close a high-security federal jail in New York, where convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was found dead, according to a report by the New York Times on Thursday.

Jeffrey Epstein, a financier by profession, was found hanging in his cell in the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Lower Manhattan on August 10, 2019, while he was awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. Medical examiners ruled his death as suicide. The guards who were deployed to check Epstein’s cell were accused of napping and surfing the internet rather than checking on the convict, the report added.

Issuing a statement, the Justice Department said on Thursday that the MCC will be closed at least temporarily in order to resolve issues related to safety and infrastructure. “In an effort to address the issues at MCC NY as quickly and efficiently as possible, the Department has decided to close the MCC, at least temporarily, until those issues have been resolved,” the Justice Department said. However, it has not given the date on which the MCC will be closed.

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The facility currently has 233 inmates and a majority of them are expected to be transferred to another federal jail in Brooklyn. The MCC has held some of the world’s most notorious criminals including Mexican drug kingpin El Chapo and American gangster John Gotti. The inmates complained that the jail had been infested with cockroaches, rats and many of them were coerced to share dirty toilets and sinks.

The decision to close the jail came weeks after deputy attorney general Lisa Monaco visited it and witnessed the problems herself, the Associated Press reported on Friday.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, which will soon take in inmates from the MCC, has also been under scrutiny for issues including sexual assault allegations against correctional officers, an inmate’s death in 2020 when he was sprayed with pepper spray and a weeklong power failure in 2019. The facility currently has 1,500 inmates, including Ghislaine Maxwell, who had a long-time association with Jeffrey Epstein.

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Jack Donson, who is a former official at the Bureau of Prisons, told the Associated Press that the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn had the capacity to permanently replace the MCC. “Do they really need MCC? They don’t really need it right now in my opinion- bed wise, capacity wise,” Donson said.





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