Prison guards watching Jeffrey Epstein reportedly fell asleep through checks and falsified records

Security personnel and people are seen at the entrance of the Metropolitan Correctional Center jail where financier Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., August 12, 2019. REUTERS/Eduardo MunozSecurity personnel and people are seen at the entrance of the Metropolitan Correctional Center jail where financier Epstein was found dead in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New YorkReuters

  • The two prison guards assigned to monitor registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein fell asleep during their shift and failed to check on Epstein for three hours the night he died of an apparent suicide, multiple sources told The New York Times.
  • They are alleged to have falsified records to hide the mistake (a potential federal crime), The Times reports.
  • There were reportedly multiple breaches in protocol regarding the supervision of Epstein: he was being housed alone and not being checked on by guards every 30 minutes.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The two prison guards assigned to monitor Jeffrey Epstein in a high-security jail fell asleep for three hours, the night he died of an apparent suicide, The New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing unnamed officials.

The guards also allegedly falsified a log to hide the mistake, according to The Times.

Both guards have since been placed on administrative leave, and a warden for the Metropolitan Correctional Center has been temporarily reassigned, following Epstein's death.

The guards were working overtime shifts, as the high-security Manhattan jail was short-staffed around the time of Epstein's apparent suicide. A source told The Associated Press that the Special Housing Unit where Epstein was held was "staffed with one guard working a fifth straight day of overtime and another who was working mandatory overtime."

According to The Times, one of the two staff members "was a former correctional officer who had taken a different position at the detention center that did not involve guarding detainees," but volunteered to work for the overtime pay. The other officer was working mandatory overtime to make up for staffing shortages.

Business Insider could not immediately reach the Department of Justice or the MCC for comment.

Read more: The prison guards watching over Jeffrey Epstein were reportedly working extreme overtime shifts on the morning of his death

According to reports, there were multiple breaches in protocol regarding the supervision of Epstein: prison guards were required to check on Epstein every 30 minutes, which they failed to do, officials told The Times, and Epstein was being housed alone after his cellmate was transferred and was not replaced.

Epstein, who was charged with sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking, was placed on suicide watch after he was found unconscious with bruises on July 23. After he was removed from suicide watch near the end of July, he was transferred to a housing unit in one of the most restrictive wings of the Metropolitan Correctional Center. He was found unresponsive in his cell Saturday morning. After attempts to revive him, he was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Attorney General William Barr expressed outrage that the financier had been left unsupervised and assured that "there will be accountability." Both the FBI and the Office of the Inspector General are investigating.

"We are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and demand a thorough investigation," Barr told The Times. "We will get to the bottom of what happened."

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