The Corner

U.S.

We Know How, but Why?

Reports are coming out now that Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide was likely accomplished by using a bedsheet from the end of his bed post as a noose. At the whodunit level — this is a satisfying explanation of “how” Epstein managed to die in federal prison.

Lots of fresh outrage has been directed at the problem of staffing. One of the two people looking after Epstein that night was not a correctional officer. And for several hours he was not seen by anyone, when protocol was to check on him every 30 minutes. That’s egregious.

But why he was taken off suicide watch? It had not even been a month since his first suicide attempt. And the very nature of his case meant that new revelations — whether by investigative journalists or courts unsealing documents — could bring back his suicidal intentions. Court documents were unsealed hours before Epstein’s suicide. It seems to me, in such circumstances he should not have had a sheet, and he should have been wearing paper clothes, as suicide risks in other institutions do.

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