• 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

    Couple in Homer proposes yurts for Alaska’s homeless

    by Shannon Ballard on Mar 30, 21:20

    Housing first — the idea is to offer permanent, affordable housing for the homeless to stop them from ending up back on the streets. It sounds simple enough and appears to be working to end chronic homelessness in other parts of the country. Now, a Homer couple is putting their own twist on the concept. When […]

  • Lifestyle

    In Anchorage, pop-up studio brings art to you

    by Heather Hintze on Mar 30, 19:27

    It’s a night out with cocktails and canvas. On a recent weekday night, SubZero Bistro and Microlounge was full of pop-up painters. “We are painting wine glasses, which is really appropriate, we’re at SubZero,” explained Larissa Villar Aaberg. “They have a still life on their table, so they can paint from a picture or the […]

  • News

    After Chester Creek trail attack, Anchorage residents raise safety concerns

    by Bonney Bowman on Mar 30, 19:09

    A weekend attack is raising concerns about safety on Anchorage’s trails. A woman was stabbed on Chester Creek Trail Sunday afternoon. The victim told officers from the Anchorage Police Department that she was texting and walking near the Northern Lights Boulevard overpass when someone came up behind her, knocked her out, stabbed her and went through […]

  • News

    Coast Guard rescues sick mariner near Cold Bay

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 30, 18:30

    A helicopter from the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station in Kodiak medevaced a fisherman with severe abdominal pains from a ship 30 miles south of Cold Bay on Sunday. The chopper and a Coast Guard cutter happened to be in the area as part of a continuous Bering Sea patrol mission when guard watchstanders received […]

  • Crime

    Fairbanks PD: Man arrested for DUI after crashing vehicle, stealing forklift

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 30, 17:54

    A Delta Junction man was arrested Monday after crashing his vehicle along Phillips Field Road, then swiping a forklift to try and free his vehicle. His breath alcohol level was .230 — nearly three times the legal limit, according to a release from the Fairbanks Police Department. Police have identified the subject as Aleksandr Glushko. […]

  • Lifestyle

    Endangered beluga whale population sees slight increase in 2014

    by Hope Miller on Mar 30, 15:47

    An endangered beluga whale population saw a slight increase in 2014, but researchers say it’s not a significant jump. The 2014 Cook Inlet beluga population estimate is 340 whales, an increase from 2012 when the population was roughly 312, according to a release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They were first listed as […]

  • Politics

    Bill to decriminalize marijuana clears the Senate

    by Rhonda McBride on Mar 30, 14:31

    A bill to decriminalize marijuana cleared the state Senate Monday by a 17 to 3 margin. Senate Bill 30 has gone through various permutations, seesawing between taking pot off the state’s list of controlled substances to putting it back on. Opponents to the bill, three Democrats, said the legislation did not comply with the spirit […]

  • Anchorage Centennial

    Documentary charts Anchorage’s growth over past 100 years

    by Daybreak Staff on Mar 30, 11:20

    In the past 100 years Anchorage has grown from what was first a tent city to what we now call home. Documentary filmmaker Todd Hardesty joined Daybreak Monday to talk about how he’s helping tell the city’s story with a film called “Anchorage Is…” Hardesty was tasked with covering the 100-year period while also touching […]