Inmate Death in My Unit

Prison Life

Aug 11

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012 |

Gary, a cell neighbor, died in our unit this morning. The guy had a lot of medical and personal problems. He had a bad back that required him to be on morphine 24/7.  Gary rarely left his cell – mostly to go to the cafeteria and pill line. He was supposed to go home in September.  An inmate death is always a big deal in prison.

Gary had a strained relationship with his wife. He told guys that a probation officer went to his house to check it out for home confinement.  His wife told the PO that she didn’t want him back in the house. Gary’s wife recently (in the past two weeks or so) filed for divorce. He told me that his wife was laying claim to his property, and he was very distressed about it.

In addition, he got a shot two weeks ago for “stealing” and “disobeying a direct order”. This was for taking his food out of the cafeteria after being told he couldn’t do it. He never looked healthy since I have been here.

We don’t know the entire story of this inmate death, but this is what we do know:

Gary had what everyone thought was a panic attack. He was yelling and flailing his arms. An inmate called “222” on the emergency phone for help. Medical and the COs came down to the unit. He fell out of his bed and was still in panic attack condition. Gary told everyone to get out of his cell and leave him alone.

However, the COs took charge and told the inmates to get out of the unit. Unbelievably, a nurse made the decision that he was ok and was only faking. All medical personnel then left the unit.

The CO’s pulled out cuffs and shackles to take him to the hole. Then, we don’t know exactly what happened next.  But, he must have died when it was just the COs and Gary there. The COs called medical back into the unit. All the inmates were locked down in other units for the next two hours (they never want the inmates to witness things like this).

Gary was seen on a stretcher leaving the unit by some guys, and he appeared dead. Ultimately, they let all the inmates out for lunch. Shortly thereafter, a “town hall meeting” was called to announce his death by the chaplains. They said that the cause of his death was unknown. I asked if there would be an autopsy, and was told “yes” since it is required by state law, given the circumstances.

With all the guy’s medical and personal problems, he could have died of almost anything. Obviously, there are all sorts of rumors circulating around. I doubt if we’ll ever get the full story, but I hope his family does.

  • […] addition, it still grates me that a nurse stood over an inmate while he was having a medical emergency.  Nurse Valentine accused him of faking it rather than […]

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