• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 48s

Families of dead inmates face off with prison officials

By KTVA Alaska Photojournalist: Nick Swann - 7:20 PM July 15, 2014
ANCHORAGE –

Ten to 12 inmate deaths a year is not cause for alarm, according to Joe Schmidt, the head of Alaska’s Department of Corrections system.

The department’s refusal to answer any questions surrounding inmate deaths led Sen. Hollis French to call a special legislative hearing Tuesday where, still, many questions were left unanswered.

“Yesterday he tells me, ‘Mommy, I misses my dad. Why isn’t daddy coming home? He doesn’t like me anymore?’” said Vernesia Gordon, the fiancee of an inmate found dead in a jail cell on April 4.

Joe Schmidt, commissioner for the DOC — which is tasked with keeping inmates safe — referred to policy in place to protect the institution.

“When lawsuits are pending and investigations are ongoing, we have to be very careful just going forth with a tremendous amount of information just to keep people happy,” Schmidt said.

But a lawsuit is the only way that Gordon and her attorney Robert Campbell believe they’ll find out why 20-year-old Davon Mosley died from a treatable medical condition inside of a corrections facility — a week after he should have been released.

“Davon Mosley wasn’t taken care of,” Campbell said. “The state took away his freedom, then the state screwed up again by not releasing him when his charges were dismissed. That’s two fatal errors, either one which could’ve been cured for if they took care of him or released him. Either way, he’d be alive but he’s not. He’s dead. These kids have lost their dad.”

A mother who lost her 33-year-old daughter says Mosley’s family isn’t alone.

Constance Anderson’s daughter Kristen Simon died in the custody of corrections officers in June during what she believes were severe drug withdrawals.

“I really think it needs to be checked, not just for her but or everyone that walks through that door because it could be you and it could be me and it could be your child that died and your child that’s dead in a holding cell,” Anderson said.

Those who walk the toughest beat, Alaska corrections officers, agreed that something must be done because. To accept 10 to 12 inmate deaths a year is nowhere near acceptable, they say.

Latest Stories

  • News

    UPDATE: Horseshoe Lake Fire reaches 25 acres

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Aug 30, 15:51

    Crews are working to contain a fire, located off Millers Reach Road north of Big Lake. Early Sunday afternoon, authorities were alerted to the fire. Named the Horshoe Lake Fire, it has reached about 25 acres, as of 8 p.m. Sunday. Both helicopters and ground crews are assisting in the containment efforts, according to Norm […]

  • Crime

    Man stabbed in face after altercation in downtown Anchorage

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Aug 30, 15:05

    Police say a young adult male suffered a severe stab wound to his face early Sunday morning after an altercation in downtown Anchorage. Around 2:40 a.m. the Anchorage Police Department received a report of a possible stabbing near Seventh Avenue and D Street. It was reported to police that a group of males got into a […]

  • News

    President Obama to announce renaming of Mount McKinley to Denali

    by Sierra Starks on Aug 30, 13:01

    During his trip to Alaska, President Barack Obama will announce that the federal government has officially restored the name of Denali to the mountain previously known as Mount McKinley. “Today, finalizing a process initiated by the State of Alaska in 1975, President Obama is announcing that the Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell used her […]

  • Lifestyle

    1st weekend of Alaska State Fair kicks off with parade

    by Eric Ruble on Aug 30, 11:52

    The first weekend of the Alaska State Fair kicked off with a parade in downtown Palmer. Forty-five different floats traveled down South Alaska Street, each stopping for 30 seconds at the grandstand to be judged by a panel. Groups from around Southcentral Alaska created their own unique floats that were dispersed between tractors and dozens […]

  • Crime

    Man charged in East Anchorage double homicide

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Aug 30, 10:37

    Anchorage police have arrested and charged a man in a double homicide that occurred in January. Michael Dorell Kelvin Reynold, 22, was taken into custody on Saturday in connection with the shooting deaths of 27-year-old Christian Haynes and 23-year-old Krystal Hawk, according to a release from the Anchorage Police Department. Haynes and Hawk, a couple, were […]

  • News

    Dillingham plans to voice erosion concerns during President Obama’s visit

    by Emily Carlson on Aug 29, 18:50

    When Dillingham residents are asked what their land means to them, the answer is simple — it’s home. Many fear that, due to erosion, they will not only lose their land but also the culture that’s been built upon those shores.

  • News

    Gov. Walker to fly with President Obama to Alaska

    by Associated Press on Aug 29, 13:15

    Gov. Bill Walker will fly to Alaska with President Barack Obama on Monday. Walker’s office announced in a release Saturday that Walker will accompany the president aboard Air Force One from Washington, D.C. The president will address a State Department global warming conference Monday afternoon in Anchorage. He also has visits planned in Seward, Dillingham […]

  • Crime

    UPDATE: Suspect sought in connection with 1 of the overnight shootings in Anchorage

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Aug 29, 8:03

    Anchorage police say two men were injured in shootings that happened in the overnight hours between Friday and Saturday. APD is now seeking a suspect, Michael Sharp, in connection with one of those shootings. On Friday, officers went to two homes in response to a verbal altercation between three people, a 23-year-old woman, her 23-year […]