At Jeffrey Epstein’s Jail, and Ghislaine Maxwell’s, Everything’s a Rat Fuck
Having spent time locked up with Epstein and Paul Manafort in Manhattan let me tell you: There’s a reason that a federal judge just said those jails are “run by morons.”
I guess you could say that my life had taken a turn for the surreal around June and July of 2019. At age 69, I was suffering my first (and hopefully last) bid in prison (for tax fraud), listening to my celly Paul Manafort fart and snore by night — and suicide-watching Jeffrey Epstein by day. So I have some thoughts on the two guards, Tova Noel and Michael Thomas, who slept through the night that Epstein killed himself at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, and have now taken pleas for falsifying records that should let them avoid prison time themselves.
Sure, that’s a problem, but speaking as a guy who stayed at MCC for most of 2019 I’d have been just as surprised if they actually did their counts. MCC was that kind of place. Not exactly a crackerjack outfit.
Conspiracy theorists want to know how it was that the guards punted their duty and the cameras were not functioning — thinking there was a conspiracy afoot. But they didn’t live there. Nothing functioned correctly at MCC. Everything was a rat fuck.
Up at suicide, we had two cameras. But we all knew only one worked. So if a guard wanted to sleep on the job (which most of them did), or jerk off (which one of them was caught doing), or pass drugs (which was the norm), they grabbed the seat with the busted camera.
It’s not illogical that a federal judge just said the MCC, where Epstein killed himself, and Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center, where his procurer and sometimes girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell is now being held while bitterly complaining about the conditions there, are “run by morons.” While I did not serve time at MDC, I knew several inmates who had been transferred from that prison to MCC, all of whom reported that the Brooklyn lockup, despite being plagued by power and heat outages, was the superior place to spend time.
Contrary to legend, the guards at MCC were not the devil incarnate. Mostly, they didn’t bully the prisoners. Nor did they look much different. Put them in khakis or jumpsuits and you wouldn’t be able to tell them apart from the inmates. Ask yourself this: Who are the guards at MCC? Many had military careers behind them. Some had just lucked into a good job (relatively) with excellent benefits. They weren’t exactly Boy Scouts — if you get my drift. They’d been around guys like us on the outside. They just hadn’t got caught up.
But I have to admit in all candor that I liked the guards overall more than I liked most of my fellow inmates. They had their shit a little more together. But not a lot.
Having said that, I can report that rarely if ever did the officers in my unit miss the count at night. It was their job to shine flashlights in all the cells every 2 hours to ensure everybody was where they were supposed to be. And as I said, they did that job religiously.
Exactly why officers Noel and Thomas decided to punt, I couldn’t say. But I can tell you that officer morale at MCC was not what it could have been. Call-outs were so frequent that officers often worked doubles and even triples to keep the place adequately staffed. Basically, the CO’s mostly shared the inmates’ attitude: How’d I get stuck in this shithole? (And, reportedly, morale is even worse now, after Epstein’s suicide and the pandemic.)
While I did not know those two officers, I was familiar with the warden who neglected to place a new celly with Epstein after his old partner was released back to g-pop.
Lamine N’Diaye was actually a pretty good guy. He once barged into my cell while I was crapping and actually apologized for his intrusion. (He was checking for “lines” — clotheslines set up by inmates so we could crap in relative privacy in our 60-square-feet cells.)
You could theorize that the warden, who was removed from MCC but is still employed by the DOJ, is as much to blame for Jeffrey’s suicide as the two officers currently suffering the spotlight. If N’Diaye had given Epstein a new cellmate, he might be alive today.
But really, I’m not suggesting that N’Diaye hang either. Noel and Thomas lost their jobs, benefits, and pensions. And N’Diaye could find another occupation as well. I mean —who in his right mind would leave Epstein alone after he’d threatened to kill himself and had spent a month in a suicide cell?
After spending almost a year within the walls of MCC federal prison, I can tell you that the failure of the bureaucracy was rivaled only by the incompetents who tried to navigate that tangled web. MCC was a mess on so many levels.
So bad are the conditions and administration at MCC that a federal judge this week reduced the sentence of a crack dealer, saying the living situation at the prison is so bad that serving two years there equals three at another federal prison facility.
Laying blame for Jeffrey’s suicide seems futile to a guy who lived at MCC, knew some of the players, and witnessed the incompetence. Epstein wanted to kill himself. And he did. Let the two slacker officers find another job for slackers. We have a lot of them in America.