Latandra Ellington, an inmate at the state prison in Lowell, Fl., died amid a power struggle between two warring factions of corrections officers, say letters obtained by the Miami Herald. The latest details about Ellington's death on Oct. 1 emerged after another death at the all-women's prison. The problems at Lowell are the latest crisis for the Florida Department of Corrections, which has faced mounting criticism and investigative scrutiny over a rash of unexplained deaths throughout the prison system.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirmed Saturday that it is investigating all four in-custody deaths in Lowell. The woman who died Thursday had been ill for some time, and doctors at the hospital told her family that at the time she arrived at the hospital her feet were blue, she was in septic shock, she had a fever and was suffering from pneumonia. In the Ellington case, inmates asserted that women are routinely beaten by guards for sport, that they suspect that many of the “suicides'' at the prison were really killings covered up, and that male guards sexually abuse inmates.