• 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

  • Sports

    Not this time: UAA women fall in title game

    by Dave Goldman on Nov 27, 8:11

    Despite 19 points from Megan Mullings and a spirited effort, UAA fell to Long Beach State 69-60 in the title game of the GCI Great Alaska Shootout at the Alaska Airlines Center. Mullings was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. The Seawolves were aiming for back-to back wins over Division I teams following their victory […]

  • Sports

    UAA nearly holds the Tigers

    by Dave Goldman on Nov 27, 7:56

    The game counted as an exhibition for UAA, and the Seawolves nearly made the Pacific Tigers exhibit A. In a tightly contested game from wire to wire, Division II UAA nearly upended the bigger Pacific Tigers. But Division I got the last word in the balance of the rebounds in a hard-earned 71-62 win at the […]

  • Sports

    UCSB’s John Green bounces back

    by Jake Edmonds on Nov 27, 7:22

    Most of the teams traveled quite the distance to play in the Great Alaska Shootout at the Alaska Airlines Center. But for one UC Santa Barbara player, getting there has been measured in more than miles. It’s hard to miss his florescent blue and yellow shoes. Add 13.3 points and 3.7 rebounds per game this season […]

  • Crime

    Judge issues max sentence to Palmer man for sexually exploiting children

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 27, 6:56

    A 49-year-old Palmer man was sentenced in federal court Tuesday for sexually exploiting children more than a decade ago. A federal judge sentenced Robert Cunningham on six counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, using two children to produce child pornography, according to a release from the Alaska U.S. Attorney’s Office. Cunningham’s crimes occured between September 2002 […]

  • News

    Alaska Gov.-elect Bill Walker appoints law partner as attorney general

    by Rhonda McBride on Nov 27, 1:57

    On Monday, Dec. 1, Bill Walker will leave his private law practice behind to become governor of Alaska. But he won’t be leaving behind his longtime partner, Craig Richards, who will now serve as attorney general. Richards says he took the job because he believes the governor needs a good lawyer. “I was being a […]

  • News

    Thanksgiving travel tales from the Anchorage airport

    by Kate McPherson on Nov 26, 23:27

    Spending Thanksgiving with loved ones isn’t possible for everyone. But for others, taking a flight or two is all it takes to get the family together. At the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport on Wednesday night, 2-year-old Rachael waited patiently for her dad to come home from the North Slope. Her mom, Melissa Chapman, is happy that […]

  • News

    After power outage, Tuluksak families get turkey donation

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Nov 26, 22:50

    Families that lost tons of meat after a power outage in Tuluksak will now have a turkey on the table for Thanksgiving. The community of nearly 400 went without electricity for an extended period of time following a power plant failure. Because of the warm temperatures, many people weren’t able to keep their subsistence meat frozen. […]

  • News

    ‘Tis the season: 800 Christmas lights on Government Hill

    by Heather Hintze on Nov 26, 22:11

    Residents riding around Anchorage may notice a familiar sight in Government Hill. The lights have been turned on at the Christmas Tree on the neighborhood’s cell tower — a day students at Government Hill Elementary School have been waiting for all year long. The students waited anxiously on the eve of Thanksgiving for the school’s […]