Convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein denied having suicidal thoughts before apparently hanging himself, though prison staff had observed signs of worrying behavior, according to newly released prison documents.
Epstein, who committed suicide by hanging in prison two years ago, denied being suicidal. The recent documents from the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), obtained by The New York Times and CNN, construct a detailed timeline of the lead up to Epstein’s death. Risk factors for suicide ‘specific to sex offenders’ as well more general risk factors were likely present, documents show.
Epstein was described by a facilities assistant as “distraught, sad, and a little confused” when he arrived at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in July 2019. He was seen as “dazed and withdrawn,” despite claiming he felt fine and denying suicidal thoughts in a routine intake screening.
On July 8, he was put on psychological observation – not as restrictive as suicide watch – due to certain risk factors. A psychologist then assessed he should remain under observation “out of an abundance of caution” but the observation ended the next day for unclear reasons. Two weeks later, following another risk assessment, he was placed on suicide watch for one day, before being put back on psychological observation.
Epstein was also experiencing trouble sleeping and finding it challenging to adjust to the changes in his environment. He was also concerned for his safety and complained about noise in the facilities, reports say. He described himself on two occasions as a “coward” who can’t handle pain. The day before his death, new details of alleged abuse emerged and he was likely realizing he faced spending his life in prison, which were likely contributing factors to his suicide, documents say.
BOP staff also made repetitive procedural errors prior to Epstein’s death, with regards to provisions and receipt of basic services. On several occasions it was unclear if Epstein had been given dinner, took a shower or had recreation time. Logbooks also showed a surprising lack of detail about some basic facts. For instance, the day before his death he told prison staff he was calling his mother, who has been dead since 2004. Someone filling out a form had also listed him as a “black male” with “No Sexual Offense Convictions.”
The newly released documents come six days before the start of Epstein-associate Ghislaine Maxwell’s trial over criminal sex trafficking charges. Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to all charges against her.