FAYETTE COUNTY, WV (WVNS) — The West Virginia Poor People’s Campaign called on Monday, February 12, 2024, for state officials to explain how a young inmate at Southern Regional Jail died this past Thursday.
WV Poor People’s Campaign Tri-Chair Pam Garrison said lawmakers and jail officials owe families more transparency when an incarcerated loved one dies in a state jail or prison.
Garrison said she had spoken with the family of the young woman who died on Thursday and that the family has received few answers from Southern Regional Jail officials.
“This, supposedly, this 19-year-old had two heart attacks,” reported Garrison.
She added that she had spoken with the incarcerated girl’s grandmother, who said she was unaware that her granddaughter had medical issues prior to her death.
“The only issues she knew of, was, the girl was having issues with her cellmate,” said Garrison.
Garrison announced the West Virginia Poor People’s Campaign is headed to Charleston on March 2, 2024, to “indict” legislators for the deaths in state jails and prisons, and to address other issues which affect low-income residents.
She said family members of incarcerated people in the state are invited to join the rally.
A spokesperson for the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation said on Friday that guards discovered the young woman in her cell, unresponsive and apparently uninjured, on Thursday during a routine cell check.
Guards were unable to revive her, and she was transported to Beckley ARH Hospital, where doctors pronounced her dead, according to an official press release from WVDCR.