CA Prison Deaths Raise Questions; Critic Says: “This Is Outrageous”


Last Oct. 15, a medical technician spotted David Gillian, an inmate in California’s Pleasant Valley State Prison, hanging from a bedsheet tied to an air vent. The tech said, “We need to cut him down, we need to do CPR,” the tech told the sergeant, who refused, and the body was left hanging for four hours, says the Sacramento Bee, citing a confidential corrections department report. The incident is at least the second in recent months of disputes between medical staffers and guards over when a cell door should be opened to provide emergency medical care and assistance to an inmate.

“This is outrageous, it actually defies the human race,” said Donald Specter of the Prison Law Office, which has been fighting through the courts to improve conditions for inmates for 35 years. “And the reason for it makes no sense. It's a crime scene in a single … cell? How can that be? All this was a clear violation of the department's suicide and attempted suicide policies. The first priority is supposed to be save the life, not preserve a crime scene, even if there is one.”

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