UNITED STATES NEWS

Civil rights group wants independent probe into the record number of deaths in Alaska prisons

Sep 1, 2023, 10:33 AM

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A civil rights group is asking the state court system to order an independent investigation into the Alaska Department of Corrections after a record number of deaths were reported last year.

The request from the American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska came Thursday when it announced separate lawsuits against the state Department of Corrections on behalf of two men who died by suicide while in prison in the last year, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

The lawsuits, filed jointly by the organization and private attorneys on behalf of family members of the two men, seeks financial settlements and the outside investigation.

“There must be greater accountability and transparency on behalf of the Department of Corrections to prevent these tragedies from occurring,” Ruth Botstein, the ACLU of Alaska’s legal director, said at a news conference.

Neither the the Alaska Department of Corrections nor the attorney general’s office had been served with the lawsuits by Friday and could not immediately comment, officials said in emails to The Associated Press.

According to statistics from the department, 18 inmates died under the department’s control in 2022, seven of those by suicide. The previous high was 16 deaths, two by suicide, in 2002.

One lawsuit was filed on behalf of family members of James Rider. It alleges he was placed in a cell alone at the Mat-Su Pretrial Facility in Palmer, despite being a “known suicide risk.” He died by suicide last September, 11 days after being jailed.

The other lawsuit was filed on behalf of the family of Mark Cook Jr., who was held for weeks on a disorderly conduct charge at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center in Juneau because his family couldn’t afford bail.

The lawsuit alleges Cook had debilitating back pain from an injury, and it worsened to the point he could not get up from the floor of his cell. The lawsuit alleges he covered the camera in his cell and died by suicide in April.

Family members said both men were in solitary confinement when they died.

United States News

Associated Press

Widespread power outages from deadly Houston storm raise new risk: hot weather

HOUSTON (AP) — As the Houston area works to clean up and restore power to thousands after deadly storms that left at least seven people dead, it will do so Saturday under a smog warning and as all of southern Texas starts to feel the heat. The National Weather Service in Houston warned that with […]

9 hours ago

north-korean-fraud...

Nick Borgia

Arizona woman accused of involvement in major North Korean fraud scheme

An Arizona woman is being prosecuted for allegedly assisting in North Korean fraud schemes to place overseas IT workers in U.S. positions.

11 hours ago

Houston storms cause widespread damage on Friday...

Associated Press

Some in Houston facing no power for weeks after storms cause widespread damage, killing at least 4

Houston storms cause widespread damage on Friday, May 17. Thunderstorms hit the southeastern part of Texas, killing at least four people.

12 hours ago

Man gets 30 years in prison for attacking ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer...

Associated Press

Man gets 30 years in prison for attacking ex-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband with a hammer

A man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for attacking the husband of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with a hammer.

13 hours ago

Associated Press

Missouri candidate with ties to the KKK can stay on the Republican ballot, judge rules

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A longshot Missouri gubernatorial candidat e with ties to the Ku Klux Klan will stay on the Republican ticket, a judge ruled Friday. Cole County Circuit Court Judge Cotton Walker denied a request by the Missouri GOP to kick Darrell McClanahan out of the August Republican primary. McClanahan is running […]

13 hours ago

Associated Press

UN experts say South Sudan is close to securing a $13 billion oil-backed loan from a UAE company

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — U.N. experts say South Sudan is close to securing a $13 billion loan from a company in the United Arab Emirates, despite the oil-rich country’s difficulties in managing debts backed by its oil reserves. The panel of experts said in a report to the U.N. Security Council that loan documents it […]

14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

Civil rights group wants independent probe into the record number of deaths in Alaska prisons