The last inmates housed at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City, a federal facility known for housing such notorious figures as Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán and Jeffrey Epstein, have been transferred out as the building undergoes repairs, a Justice Department spokesperson said Tuesday.
Conditions at the Manhattan facility known as the MCC, once hailed as a prototype for a new kind of jail and the most secure in the country, have badly deteriorated.
The Justice Department said in August that it would close the federal jail to undertake much-needed repairs. Most inmates were transferred to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, and a limited number were sent to other facilities, the spokesperson said.
MCC employees, including health services staff members, are being temporarily assigned to the Brooklyn facility, where many are expected to move into permanent positions.
"The Department remains committed to ensuring that every facility in the federal prison system is not only safe and secure, but also provides people in custody with the resources and programs they need to make a successful return to society after they have served their time," the Justice Department said.
It's not clear whether the facility will reopen.
The Metropolitan Correctional Center has housed a slew of well-known criminals — El Chapo, John Gotti, Bernie Madoff and some of the world’s most dangerous terrorists. Prisoners are held at the jail as they await their trials or transfers to other federal prisons after conviction.
Epstein, a disgraced financier facing trial on sex trafficking charges, died by suicide at the facility in 2019. Two guards were indicted after an investigation found that they hadn't conducted the appropriate checks on his cell.