The Federal Bureau of Prisons may move some 200 inmates from the troubled Manhattan lockup where Jeffrey Epstein killed himself to a Brooklyn jail by early October — but it’s unclear if the agency has an established plan in place for the transfers, an agency lawyer said Friday.
The apparent lack of a transfer plan was revealed in a Brooklyn federal court hearing one day after the Justice Department announced it would shutter the notorious Metropolitan Correctional Center.
“I don’t believe there’s a written plan,” said Seth Eichenholtz, an attorney representing BOP in a civil suit brought against them by the New York Federal Defenders.
“I’ve heard discussions of a timeline, but they are tentative,” he added of the proposed inmate transfers to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
Despite the apparent lack of coordination, the closure of the MCC could happen in weeks.
An attorney for the federal defenders, who are in mediation with the Bureau of Prisons over conditions at the Brooklyn MDC, said a BOP attorney told her Thursday that the MCC could shutter as soon as early October.
“My primary concern is the timeline,” said attorney Deirdre von Dornum.
“That’s only five weeks from now. I think that’s a very short time to accomadate over 200 detainess,” she said.
In a statement Thursday, a DOJ spokesperson announced they plan to shutter the MCC “at least temporarily” in an effort to address issues at the troubled lockup.
“Planning for the deactivation is under way, and we will have more updates as that process continues,” the spokesperson said.
The MCC has long been plagued by security and corruption issues, which exploded in the international press when multi-millionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein hanged himself in a jail cell there in 2019 while awaiting trial.
Two guards who were supposed to keep an eye on Epstein that night later pleaded guilty fudging records and were spared prison time at their sentencing earlier this year.
Earlier this year, a federal judge in the Southern District of New York ranted from the bench about conditions at the facility and the federal jail in Brooklyn, saying they were “run by morons.”
Manhattan federal court Judge Colleen McMahon lamented that the wardens at the facilities cycle in and out and employees of the lockups fail to address safety concerns.
“There is no continuity, there is no leadership, there is no ability to get anything done. They lurch from crisis to crisis, from the gun smuggling to Jeffrey Epstein,” she said at the sentencing of a drug defendant.
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