Epstein's death brings scrutiny, criticism to Metropolitan Correctional Center

Since the death of alleged pedophile Jeffrey Epstein last Saturday, the focus has turned to his living situation at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan and the actions of the guards tasked with observing him. 

However, the man how oversees the union representing the guards tasked with watching Epstein tells me that his death is the result of years of neglect.

“This was not a question whether or not something would happen, the question was when it would happen,” said Tyrone Covington of the Council of Prison Locals. “The system has failed.”

For years, Covington says that prison employees have been sounding the alarm about the state of things at penitentiaries like MCC. Under former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a hiring freeze was implemented as a way to save federal dollars. That forced mandatory overtime for many employees, according to Covington.

In the case of Epstein, one of his two guards was not a full-time correctional officer, the work of a process called “augmentation.”

Last October, five U.S. senators wrote to the Bureau of Prisons, concerned about augmentation. In the wake of Epstein’s death, New York Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, whose district houses the MCC, is demanding a full review of the facility. 

Epstein was supposed to be checked every 30 minutes, but instead, reports suggest he went hours without a visit. He was also supposed to have a cellmate but was housed alone and it appears his guards doctored federal records in order to show they had checked in on him when they may have been asleep.