Why Epstein’s suicide isn’t a conspiracy of murder — it’s a call to fix corrections

Ethan Aldrich
Aug 11, 2019 · 5 min read

Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide is making national news coverage and sparking conspiracy theorists and everyday people to question if it was really a suicide.

I have worked in the criminal justice and corrections industries for almost 5 years. I think it’s time I point out why I got into this industry, what I’ve been working to solve, and how this industry should move — because it’s directly related to cases like these. Everything in this article is an educated guess and thoughts into the system and what happened here. I, in no way, know exactly what happened but want to shed insights into this because I go to these facilities almost every week. The average American is fully unaware and confused on why this could have happened and I feel it’s my duty to help explain.

There’s a crisis in correctional facilities around inmate suicides. First, here’s a taste of the articles put out regarding the suicide crisis in correctional facilities.

I could link thousands more. Suicides in the criminal justice system is an epidemic. Yes, much of it is a mental health issue, but I won’t focus on that. I’m going to highlight what it’s like in correctional facilities and the processes that cause these problems.

There are three things I will focus on: why Epstein would commit suicide, the process of suicide watch in facilities, and the operation of these facilities in general.

Did you know many facilities use egg timers to keep track of the face to face observations and suicide checks? These are the types of things I will get into.

First, why would Epstein commit suicide?

This one is pretty simple. He had already tried to commit suicide, he’s stuck in a cell knowing he will likely get life in prison, and he was going to have to rat out many people he considers “friends”. Additionally, someone of his stature is highly unliked by other inmates and at risk of outside harm as well. Committing suicide was the most favorable option for him, as it is for inmates in facilities across the world each and every day. Suicides in facilities are an epidemic. These facilities were not meant to be mental health facilities and the criminal justice system as a whole needs to make up for these inefficiencies.

Second, how does suicide watch work and why was he taken off?

Suicide watch in facilities are specific areas of a prison that have either have a specific officer to watch or have more frequent checks (more on rounds and checks in the third point). An officer usually has to check on suicide watch areas every 5–15 minutes and the cells themselves are more secure and segregated off.

Why was he taken off? Well there are a multitude of reasoning here. For one, there are only a small amount of suicide watch cells, which clearly means that many inmates have to be taken off watch to make room for new inmates who are deemed higher risk. Second, most facilities in the US are grossly understaffed. A recent article linked below just detailed how the two officers that were at the special housing unit were both on overtime. One was on a mandatory overtime and the other was on his 5th overtime of the week.

There are simply not enough officers to do all the operational procedures and have someone on constant watch. Third, many inmates who want to commit suicide play very strong manipulation tactics on staff untrained to handle it. Someone who wants to commit suicide will say and act in any way possible to convince staff that they are no longer a risk and allowed to be placed in a more lenient area of the facility. This is why these types of inmates should be in more specified mental health or other facilities with trained staff to handle this.

Third, how do rounds and checks work in these facilities? Why weren’t they checking on him? Why wasn’t there video footage?

Staff in facilities are required to check on inmates at regularly timed intervals throughout the day. These usually range from 15–60 minutes. This means an officer must do face to face observations with inmates during these time intervals and log them. This is where a huge problem lies though. As mentioned above, many facilities use egg timers to keep track of the face to face observations or paper log books! They will literally have dozens of egg timers sitting at a desk reminding officers to do their rounds and checks. They will have paper log books with terrible record keeping to keep track of these checks. This is a terrible operational flaw in these facilities. Staff are constantly falsifying records across facilities all around the world, not doing their rounds, or simply not having the capacity to keep up with everything. And yes, this happens in state, federal, and local facilities, so Epstein’s was likely no exception. This is a problem my technology helps tackle to ensure facility efficiency, operational compliance, and suicide prevention.

https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/11/us/jeffrey-epstein-sunday/index.html

Even without operational flaw though, 30 minutes is still plenty of time for an inmate to commit suicide. How would they commit suicide? Many use strings from bed sheets or their clothes and tie them to bars or the bed frame. If they want to commit suicide in a cell location not meant for suicide prevention, they will.

Why wasn’t there video footage? First, there isn’t a camera in every cell in a correctional facility. The cameras they did have likely weren’t positioned in a way to even see inside his cell. Second, knowing technology in government and especially corrections, the odds that the camera’s malfunctioned were so much higher than one may believe.

In conclusion, correctional facilities have a multitude of problems regarding the facility themselves and the criminal justice system in general.

I hope these conspiracies are replaced with a call for a better criminal justice system with more efficient technologies, procedures, and mental health for the millions of inmates dealing with this every day.

Epstein is one of many. Don’t let the actual problems in prison operations get clouded by conspiracy.

Ethan Aldrich

Written by

Govtech and Media

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