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Friday, February 28, 2014

Inmate Dies While Officer Stands By

Buckingham Correctional Center
Two prisoners wrote me recently about the untimely death of their friend Ed Stewart, an inmate at the Buckingham Correctional Center near Dillwyn. Mr. Stewart died February 18 of an apparent heart attack while working at the facility's metal shop.

One of the prison guards called for medical help, but did nothing to offer emergency first aid to the victim, in spite of having been trained in CPR, something mandated for all officers every year. There is apparently no policy regarding security officers being required to apply the life-saving procedure, only that they know how to do so.

Meanwhile, dozens of other inmates and staff members also stood helplessly by until the medical team arrived. But by then it was too late.

Sadly, Mr. Stewart is just one of many incarcerated citizens who will sooner or later die in prison.

One of the persons who described Ed's death also wrote this:

I was 17 when I was jailed on a breaking and entering and theft charge. My public defender told me if I would accept an Alford Plea I would just have to go to prison, take all the classes and treatment offered and that I would then earn first parole. I have been a model prisoner since January 24, 1993, and have yet to be granted parole. Why do they have us take educational and vocational classes and programs if they are going to punish us until we die? 

I do not understand why churches are not trying to help us. I grew up in a Nazarene church. I know I will never commit a crime again. Many of us are praying that we can be released on parole while we are still able to get a job and take care of ourselves, while Virginia is just waiting for us to die.

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