In published letter, Epstein’s judge urges prison reform

FILE - This July 1, 2019 file photo shows the Manhattan Correctional Center, in New York. Financier Jeffrey Epstein died by suicide and was found in his cell at the Manhattan Correctional Center. The indictment of two jail guards responsible for monitoring Epstein the night he killed himself hasn’t squashed conspiracy theories about his death. That’s even after prosecutors took pains to point out the ample evidence backing a medical examiner’s determination that the wealthy sex offender hanged himself. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

A judge who denied bail for financier Jeffrey Epstein before he died is urging the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and the Justice Department to study prison conditions nationwide and make necessary reforms.

U.S. District Judge Richard Berman told The New York Times in an opinion letter published Sunday that it is “unthinkable that any detainee, let alone … Epstein, would die unnoticed at the Metropolitan Correctional Center.”

Epstein, facing sex trafficking charges, was found unresponsive in his cell Aug. 10. A medical examiner ruled it a suicide.

Two jail guards have pleaded not guilty to criminal charges. Authorities say they failed to check on Epstein in eight hours before he died.

Berman said failing to do an in-depth evaluation of prison conditions would be a “tragic and costly missed opportunity.”

Associated Press