“URGENT,” the emails were marked. Since Jeffrey Epstein’s death at MCC, at least 20 reporters and news shows from a broad cross-section of the nation’s major news outlets have reached out for context and comment about the federal penitentiary. I spent a decade trying to get media outlets to pay attention to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan, pleading with journalists for hours on the phone, over email, and in person, to launch investigations of the jail. Over and over, for years, these media organizations did not follow up.

Suddenly, there was urgency to talk about the conditions at MCC. The jail now provided an intriguingly grimy backdrop to an already sordid story. The question is whether a sustained light will actually be shone on the conditions there or whether the widespread fascination with MCC just becomes part of the spectacle.

I spent years, alongside lawyers, civil-rights leaders, concerned citizens, and family members of the incarcerated, taking part in vigils outside MCC to shine a light on the inhumanity happening within its walls. Over and over, Department of Justice officials did nothing.

I went to court hearings and read court filings where people being held there attested to the inhumane conditions at MCC. Over and over, judges refused to intervene. Nearly all were persuaded by the government’s incessant claims such conditions were justified by necessity and national security.

When the news broke about Epstein’s death, Attorney General William Barr said he was shocked, calling for an investigation into the “serious irregularities” at MCC. Then on Tuesday, attempting to foist the blame on underlings, he reassigned the warden and put two guards on administrative leave.

This is willful shock, a deeply disingenuous surprise. The scandal is not a few rogue employees. The surprise is not that a man …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Best of


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