FILE - This Aug. 13, 2019, file photo, shows the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York. Suicide is such a constant concern at federal lockups such as the Metropolitan Correctional Center’s Special Housing Unit that guards keep ready access to “the stick,” a wooden pole with a sharpened blade at the end that’s used to cut down inmates if they try to hang themselves with bedsheets, which is how Jeffrey Epstein is believed to have died. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Suicide watch for Epstein never intended to be indefinite

August 14, 2019 - 5:37 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — For all the talk from politicians and conspiracy theorists that Jeffrey Epstein should have remained on suicide watch, prison experts say such restrictions are intended for only short periods because they put too much stress on the staff and inmate alike.

Lindsay Hayes, a nationally recognized expert on suicide prevention behind bars, says it's "just not humane" to keep inmates under such oppressive conditions.

The 66-year-old Epstein took his life over the weekend at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges involving dozens of underage girls.

Under suicide watch, the lights are left on all night, inmates are not allowed bedsheets or other things they can use to harm themselves, and they are monitored round-the-clock by someone making notes every 15 minutes.

Epstein had been on suicide watch after a possible attempt to kill himself in July, but the restrictions were lifted at end of the month.

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