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A Prisoner from Miller County Jail Dies at a Hospital in Texarkana, Arkansas

Texarkana courthouse
Texarkana Courthouse (Photo: Labeled for reuse)

On Monday, April 30, 2018, in Texarkana, Arkansas, 60-year-old Welton Watson was sent from Miller County Detention Center to Wadley Regional Medical Center because of medical issues. On the same day, while undergoing treatment for his condition at the medical center, Watson died. An autopsy will be conducted by the Arkansas State Medical Examiner in Little Rock, to determine the exact cause of death. An investigation into the custodial death is being handled by the Miller County Sheriff’s Office.

Spokesperson for the Miller County Sheriff’s Office, Mark Lewis, said officers with the Miller County jail contacted emergency medical services about Watson at about 2 a.m. on Monday. They reported that a prisoner was in need of emergency medical attention. Lewis said Watson had previously been incarcerated and released because of a serious long-term medical condition. The serious health issues Watson was suffering from in Monday’s early morning hours are believed to have been related to the longstanding illness.

It remains to be seen what the details were surrounding the custodial death of Welton Watson. What is known is that in Texas jails, one of the problems prisoners complain about to the Texas Commission on Jail Standards most often is lack of adequate medical care.  In addition, statistics have consistently shown that U.S. prisoners are reported to have a disproportionate number of infectious diseases, as compared with the rest of the population. Prisoners are also much more likely to die from sepsis, which is a frequently fatal condition that occurs when a bacterial infection reaches the blood. Appropriate medical attention can prevent the onset of sepsis.

Custodial deaths are always a concern, and various entities in every state generally conduct thorough investigations into the causes of those deaths, for the purpose of preventing future loss of life among prisoners.

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–Guest Contributor

Written By: author image smchugh
author image smchugh