• 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

  • Weather

    Records fall as snow accumulates across Southcentral

    by Melissa Frey on Jan 22, 13:40

    The latest round of snow across southcentral Alaska is setting new records. The snow started falling in Anchorage around 6 p.m. Friday and continued to fall through Saturday night. As of 9 p.m., 12 inches of snow had fallen at the National Weather Service office in west Anchorage, with more on the way. Most of […]

  • Politics

    Consultant raises concerns about Alaska gas project

    by Associated Press on Jan 22, 12:34

    A legislative consultant is raising red flags about Alaska taking the lead on a major proposed liquefied natural gas project, even as Gov. Bill Walker has said he’s comfortable with it. Legislators are scheduled to hear a project update Monday. In a recent report to lawmakers, consultant Nikos Tsafos outlined challenges threatening the project’s potential […]

  • Sports

    Pete Kaiser wins third consecutive Kuskokwim 300

    by Anna Rose MacArthur/Ben Matheson on Jan 22, 12:24

    Pete Kaiser made it three in a row Sunday morning, winning the 2017 Kuskokwim 300 Sled Dog Race. Kaiser crossed the finish line in Bethel at 10:37 a.m. to loud cheers from his hometown crowd, according to a story published by KYUK Public Media. His leader, Palmer, brought home the nine-dog team. Brent Sass, who […]

  • Sports

    Soldotna hockey captain suspended for racist Twitter posts

    by KTVA Sports on Jan 22, 12:21

    Racist comments posted on Twitter recently by the captain of the Soldotna Stars hockey team created a firestorm on social media and have cost the player his spot on the team. Soldotna High School student Ethan Brown used his personal Twitter account to denigrate Alaska Natives and homosexuals while also making a racist remark about former first family, […]

  • News

    4 more survivors pulled out of Italy’s avalanche-hit hotel

    by CBS/AP on Jan 22, 11:57

    Emergency crews pulled out four more survivors from the rubble of a hotel crushed by an avalanche and were searching Saturday for more who may still be alive as family members awaited word if their relatives were among the lucky ones. The overnight operations raised to at least nine the number of people found alive […]

  • News

    Alaska National Guardsmen take part in presidential inauguration

    by Bonney Bowman on Jan 22, 11:30

    Forty-seven Alaska National Guardsmen took part in Friday’s presidential inauguration, representing our state on the national stage. Capt. Jason Walter, area security force protection officer with the 297th Regional Support Group, told KTVA it was a long day for the Guardsmen. They started at 1 a.m. and were on duty until after the parade. The […]

  • Weather

    Dangerous avalanche conditions for southern, western Kenai Mountains

    by Melissa Frey on Jan 22, 10:30

    Dangerous avalanche conditions are expected Saturday evening through Monday in the southern and western portions of the Kenai Mountains. That includes areas like Summit Lake, Carter Lake, Lost Lake Snug Harbor and Bear Creek. The Chugach National Forest Avalanche Information Center in Girdwood says the two to five feet of snow that fell on mountain […]

  • Lifestyle

    Can breakfast help keep us thin? Nutrition science is tricky.

    by Associated Press on Jan 21, 18:45

    Cereal makers have happily encouraged the belief that eating breakfast can help keep us thin and bring other benefits, partly by paying for studies that seem to support the idea. So, does that mean breakfast is bad for you? Not that either. What it does show is how difficult it can be to sort the […]