Overnight, Another Jackson County Detention Center Inmate Dies

Jul 21, 2017

A 35-year-old man died overnight after being restrained to a chair at the Jackson County Detention Center.

The man was brought in on a parole violation around 11 p.m. According to Jackson County spokeswoman Marshanna Hester, he was evaluated by a nurse at intake.

According to the press release:

“Due to the inmate’s combative behavior and to prevent him from harming himself or correction’s (sic) officials, he was placed in a restraint chair pursuant to national accreditation standards. During the approximate 2.5 hours he was in our facility, he was checked numerous times by health care professionals and Corrections staff.
 

“When determining that there was a health emergency, numerous medical professionals performed life-saving measures on him. Emergency personnel were immediately called and transported him to Truman Medical Center, where he died.”

The inmate’s name has not been released.

Corrections officials reported the incident to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, which is investigating. A spokeswoman for the FBI said federal law enforcement officials were aware of the death but were leaving the investigation to local authorities.

There have been a series of incidents at the jail recently that have called into question the safety and security of inmates at the facility, which is consistently overcrowded. Last month, Tom Larson, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, unsealed federal charges against two correction officers in coordination with a large, early morning search for contraband in the jail.

In May, attorney Nick Dudley filed a federal civil rights complaint on behalf of an inmate who was allegedly raped while a corrections officer looked on.

“The guards at the jail are consistently underpaid and make less money than other guards in the area,” Dudley said on Up To Date Thursday. “They are not sworn law enforcement, so they get less training.”

Dudley wasn’t optimistic that this death would change the climate at the jail. He said little has changed at the jail since January, when 53-year-old Regina Thurman died while in custody. 

“I don’t think that’s going to be the straw that breaks their back. Unfortunately, the only thing that’s going to make an impact on them is if it costs them more money in lawsuits to operate that jail than it costs to fix it.”

Kyle Palmer contributed to this report.

Elle Moxley covers Missouri schools and politics for KCUR. You can reach her on Twitter @ellemoxley.