Jail captain in charge when Jeffrey Epstein hanged himself to be transferred: sources

He’s certainly no stranger to emergencies.

The Metropolitan Correctional Center captain in charge when Jeffrey Epstein hanged himself is expected to be transferred to a new prison where he will serve as “emergency preparedness officer,” sources tell the Daily News.

Jermaine Darden’s move to FCI Fort Dix, a low-security prison in Burlington County, N.J., was delayed due to the ongoing lockdown at the dysfunctional jail in lower Manhattan, according to a source.

As captain, Darden oversees lieutenants and correctional officers at MCC. Among those under his command were Officers Tova Noel and Michael Thomas, who are accused of sleeping on the job and falsifying records the night of Epstein’s death.

A source doubted that Darden was at the jail when Epstein was found hanging in his cell at 6:30 a.m. Aug. 10 but was confident he was one of the first people called about the crisis.

Thomas’s attorney Montell Figgins said Darden’s transfer and new title was yet another example of the upper ranks of MCC facing no consequences for systemic Bureau of Prisons failures that allowed the accused sex trafficker to avoid facing justice. 

RELATED: Take a look at the photos from the Jeffrey Epstein case: 

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NEW YORK, NY - JULY 08: US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman announces charges against Jeffery Epstein on July 8, 2019 in New York City. Epstein will be charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 08: US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman announces charges against billionaire financier Jeffery Epstein on July 8, 2019 in New York City. Epstein will be charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 08: Two of the purported victims of multi-millionaire Jeffrey Epstein, Michelle Licata (L) and Courtney Wild leave a Manhattan court house after a hearing on sex trafficking charges for financier Jeffrey Epstein on July 08, 2019 in New York City. Epstein is charged with having operated a sex trafficking ring in which he sexually abused dozens of underage girls. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 08: Two of Jeffrey Epstein's alleged victims, Michelle Licata (L) and Courtney Wild (R), exit the courthouse after the billionaire financier appeared for a hearing on July 8, 2019 in New York City. According to reports, Epstein will be charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
In this courtroom artist's sketch, defendant Jeffrey Epstein, center, sits with attorneys Martin Weinberg, left, and Marc Fernich during his arraignment in New York federal court, Monday, July 8, 2019. Epstein pleaded not guilty to federal sex trafficking charges. The 66-year-old is accused of creating and maintaining a network that allowed him to sexually exploit and abuse dozens of underage girls from 2002 to 2005. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)
NEW YORK, US - JULY 08: David Boies, attorney for the alleged sex victims of the US financier Jeffreey Epstein case, delivers a speech to the media outside the United States Federal Court on July 08, 2019 in New York, United States. (Photo by Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 08: A residence belonging to Jeffrey Epstein at East 71st street is seen on the Upper East Side of Manhattan on July 8, 2019 in New York City. According to reports, Epstein is charged with running a sex-trafficking operation out of his opulent mansion. (Photo by Kevin Hagen/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 08: Prosecutors exit the room after US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman announces charges against Jeffery Epstein on July 8, 2019 in New York City. Epstein will be charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 08: Member of the press listen as US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman announces charges against Jeffery Epstein on July 8, 2019 in New York City. Epstein will be charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 08: A protest group called "Hot Mess" hold up signs of Jeffrey Epstein and President Donald Trump in front of the Federal courthouse on July 8, 2019 in New York City. According to reports, Epstein will be charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman speaks during a news conference, in New York, Monday, July 8, 2019. Federal prosecutors announced sex trafficking and conspiracy charges against wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein. Court documents unsealed Monday show Epstein is charged with creating and maintaining a network that allowed him to sexually exploit and abuse dozens of underage girls.(AP Photo/Richard Drew)
In this courtroom sketch, defendant Jeffrey Epstein, second from right, listens along with defense attorneys, from left, Marc Fernich, Michael Miller, and Martin Weinberg as Judge Richard M. Berman denies him bail during a hearing in federal court, Thursday, July 18, 2019 in New York. Judge Berman denied bail for the jailed financier on sex trafficking charges, saying the danger to the community that would result if the jet-setting defendant was free formed the "heart of this decision." (Aggie Kenny via AP)
FILE - This March 28, 2017, file photo, provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry shows Jeffrey Epstein. A judge denied bail for jailed financier Jeffrey Epstein on sex trafficking charges Thursday, July 18, 2019, saying the danger to the community that would result if the jet-setting defendant was free formed the "heart of this decision." (New York State Sex Offender Registry via AP)
In this courtroom sketch, Judge Richard M. Berman speaking as he denies Jeffrey Epstein bail during a hearing in federal court, Thursday, July 18, 2019 in New York. Judge Berman denied bail for the jailed financier on sex trafficking charges, saying the danger to the community that would result if the jet-setting defendant was free formed the "heart of this decision." (Aggie Kenny via AP)
In this courtroom artist's sketch, defendant Jeffrey Epstein, left, and his attorney Martin Weinberg listen during a bail hearing in federal court, Monday, July 15, 2019 in New York. Epstein's lawyers want him released on house arrest to his Manhattan home while he awaits trial. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)
This courtroom sketch shows Judge Richard Berman as he speaks during the Jeffrey Epstein bail hearing in federal court, Monday July 15, 2019. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)
In this courtroom artist's sketch, defendant Jeffrey Epstein, left, listens as accuser Annie Farmer, second from right, speaks during a bail hearing in federal court, Monday, July 15, 2019 in New York. Farmer says she was 16 when she "had the misfortune" of meeting Epstein and later went to spend time with him in New Mexico. Accuser Courtney Wild, right, said in the hearing that she was abused by the wealthy financier in Palm Beach, Florida, starting at age 14. Epstein's lawyers want him released on house arrest to his Manhattan home while he awaits trial. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)
In this courtroom artist's sketch, defendant Jeffrey Epstein, left, and attorney Reid Weingarten, second from right, listen as attorney Martin Weinberg, right, speaks during a bail hearing in federal court, Monday, July 15, 2019 in New York. Epstein's lawyers have insisted he will not run. They want him released on house arrest to his Manhattan home while he awaits trial. Courtney Wild, third from left, said in the hearing that she was abused by the wealthy financier in Palm Beach, Florida, starting at age 14. She called him a "scary person" and urged detention "for the safety of any other girls" out there. (Elizabeth Williams via AP)
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“It shows you the hubris of the system,” Figgins said. “They couldn’t care less about the reality of what they’re dong. They would take this person, who was involved in this incident, and give him another title?”

Darden, 48, declined comment.

The transfer follows a pattern similar to that of Lamine N’Diaye, the MCC warden during the Epstein debacle. N’Diaye was moved to a desk job at a regional office in Pennsylvania days after the suicide. He was expected to assume a leadership role at Ft. Dix in February until Attorney General Bill Barr intervened and ordered the transfer be put on hold while investigations into Epstein’s death continue, the Associated Press reported.

Darden’s new title at Ft. Dix could come with a pay raise, a source said.

Working at the low-security lockup in New Jersey should be less stressful than MCC.

The 12-story jail next door to Manhattan Federal Court has been reeling since Epstein’s suicide. The building’s infrastructure is crumbling. Morale is at rock bottom following the arrests of Thomas and Noel. A gun smuggled into the jail prompted an ongoing lockdown and forced overworked staff to put in even longer hours. The FBI is investigating the flow of contraband into the facility.

Figgins made the case that Darden’s leadership was one of many problems at MCC at the time of Epstein’s suicide. The sex offender’s body was moved in his cell, which is a violation of protocol.

“They don’t have any pictures of what happened that night because they didn’t follow proper protocol,” Figgins said. “And yet he gets another position.”

The Bureau of Prisons declined to comment on personnel decisions.

Thomas and Noel have pleaded not guilty to charges including filing false records, which carries a maximum sentence of five years.

A jail insider described Darden’s role as a difficult one. Correctional officers resented Darden for not being tough enough with inmates while medical staff resented him for being too rigid about regulations, the insider said.

“He had a reputation for not being liked by anyone,” the insider said.

Systemic issues in the Bureau of Prisons were ultimately to blame for the suicide, the source said.

“It’s impossible to be at work 24 hours a day,” the insider said of Darden. “But it is on you to make sure the right people are in place and are doing their jobs.”

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