To many people the death of Jeffrey Epstein at the Metropolitan Correctional Complex in New York City (MCC New York) is not much of a shock and they are quick to believe that he killed himself, but anyone that has actually done time in a special housing unit (SHU) at any Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) facility would tell you that they are not so sure. First, most people are assuming that he hung himself, which is hard to do in a SHU cell. Second, BOP staff in general and SHU staff especially do not care about inmates, so there is a good chance someone put in some work here.
This author has been in SHU cells at USP Victorville and FCI Sheridan. In those SHUs the only place to hang yourself would be off the top bunk of a two person cell. Someone like Epstein that is a high profile sex offender and snitch in protective custody that had recently been on suicide watch would not have had a cellmate. He would have most likely been placed in a strip cell where the only property he would have is his legal work and the only bed is a concrete slab with a mattress on it. It would be beyond incompetent for the SHU staff at MCC New York to place him is a cell with a second bunk after they claim he tried to hang himself. They would have been placing someone they claim to have recently been suicidal in the only place in the SHU that someone could hang themselves. Even in that situation the likelihood of Epstein's sheets being able to support his weight has been called into question by former inmates there. If Epstein killed himself, the best way for him to have done that would not have been with a hanging, it would have been to slit his wrists with a razor because SHU inmates are typically allowed to shave two to three times a week, but someone fresh off suicide watch should have been on razor restriction. Even then he could probably have bought one from an inmate worker because inmates are hired to clean the SHU and SHU orderly is one of the most lucrative hustles in prison because they get a cut of all the contraband.
Another possibility is that he was murdered by an inmate or a guard. SHU staff are really bad at keeping protective custody inmates (PC cases) away from general population inmates in the SHU. Inmates from general population make up a large part of the SHU population because they are placed there when they get into trouble. In many places there is a rule among inmates that if they are ever put in a cell with a sex offender or a snitch that they take him out. This author personally knows that SHU staff that have a problem with a general population inmate have no problem putting him in a cell with a PC case to put him in a position of having to choose between looking bad and risking more charges by taking out the inmate. They also do this when the SHU is near capacity or they do it by accident. If someone put Epstein in with a solid dude this would have been a likely result. A less likely result would have been a guard killing him and saying it was a suicide. The most likely motive there would be if Epstein ever threatened to use his fame or fortune to expose the staff at MCC, then this author would not be surprised at all if they killed him. Staff that feel threatened by high profile inmates like to make examples of them by causing them harm and then lying about it later.
Whether he killed himself or was murdered, either one exposes guards to liability. Every scenario exposes incompetence or malice of some sort. Incompetence for putting him in a two bunk cell, giving him sheets strong enough to support his body weight, giving him razors, failing to keep inmates from giving him razors, putting him in a cell with another inmate, or malice for flat out killing him. SHU staff typically only check on inmates during standing count two or three times a day, so this author thinks they found him and are doing all they can minimize their responsibility. Saying he was alone and appears to have killed himself is the least culpable explanation.