Six California death row inmates died between 2010 and 2015 with detectable levels of methamphetamines, heroin metabolites or other drugs in their system, according to Marin County coroner records, the Los Angeles Times reports. The 747 death row inmates are among the most closely monitored in the state, spending most of their time locked down, isolated from the rest of the prison system under heavy guard with regular strip searches, and checks every half-hour for signs of life.
Three inmates had toxic levels of drugs, including one in whose intestines were found five snipped fingers of a latex glove, each packed with methamphetamine or marijuana. He overdosed when they burst. A 70-year-old man among the three died of acute methamphetamine toxicity. He left a stash of marijuana in his cell. Psychological reports and court files document at least eight non-fatal drug overdoses that required death row inmates to be hospitalized during this period. Corrections officials declined to provide data on drugs found on death row. An official statement said: “Drugs have considerable value inside prison and so some inmates have a very strong incentive to procure them. Regardless of the security level of the inmate, the presence of any contraband items is concerning to us.”