, 14 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter
1. Look, it would be easy to dunk on this, and I think John Woo is already prepping a copyright infringement lawsuit.


There’s actually a useful lesson here, about how most ppl—pundits included—think about the criminal justice system.

2. Here’s a piece from the WaPo, on how unfathomable Epstein’s (yes, yes: alleged) suicide was: washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/…

It comes from a very similar place at Halperin’s admittedly-unhinged proposal.

The MCC as an appropriate place, well staffed and well run.
3. As @Popehat bluntly put it, this reflects a Dick Wolfean perspective on law enforcement and its institutions:

These institutions are far more fundamentally broken than most people either know or are willing to admit.
4. Take the MCC. However well trained its staff may be—and by European standards US corrections officials are WOEFULLY undertrained—the MCC is significantly understaffed: nypost.com/2019/08/11/eps…
5. And lest you say “how conveeeeenient,” here’s that same complaint, specifically about the MCC, made in 2018: thechiefleader.com/federal-jail-u….

This is nothing new. And it plagues the entire system.
6. And, in fact, the official numbers understate the magnitude of understaffing, since the Federal BOP (like many states) will force civilian employees to take on guard duties when needed.

Librarians in guard towers, nurses walking the block.

7. The MCC itself as a building is a mess as well. At least one inmate who has spent time both at the MCC and Rikers said the MCC was worse. Which, if you know anything about Rikers, is… quite a statement.

8. So put aside that people are unaware of the well-documented problem of jail suicide, and that those facing sex offense charges are even more at risk than those charged with other crimes (uscourts.gov/sites/default/…).

Those matter, but something else is happening here too.
9. The turn towards conspiracies, including Face/Off ripoffs, also reflects the extent to which people and pundits on both sides of the aisle still default to Dick Wolfean takes on criminal justice.
10. The truth is much messier: jails are poorly staffed, staff is (especially by foreign standards) poorly trained, treatment is poorly provided.

Then that staff is exhausted. And often part of a institutional culture that dehumanizes the people in confinement.
11. I mean, here’s a story about guards betting on someone’s suicide: washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/05…

Guards turning off a detainee’s water until he dehydrated to death: jsonline.com/story/news/cri…

Dehumanization permeates our jails and prisons.
12. Ppl also turn to conspiracies because they believe there is real accountability in jails and prisons: “if this happened by accident, someone would get fired!”

But no. Accountability is all too rare.

Again: the incentives and policies in our jails are fundamentally broken.
13. So:

• Was Epstein murdered? Maybe.
• Did higher-ups order that he be taken off solitary in hopes he’d kill himself? Maybe.
• Did rank and file turn a blind eye to a detested sex offender? Maybe.

But is it possible this was just a predictable routine failure? Yes.
14. But it is essential to start NOT from the position of “how could this ever have happened?!”

The right starting point is: “this is the sort of thing that is COMPLETELY predictable and almost expected.”

It’s time to put Dick Wolfean perspectives away.
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