Close Menu

Prison Deaths Spike


Inmates in the Florida Penal System face more dangers than inmates in virtually any other prison in the country. In 2017, those dangers resulted in a 20 percent rise in the number of inmate fatalities. It’s difficult to imagine that these deaths were simply nature taking its course. If your loved one was an inmate in a Florida prison and you are concerned about a wrongful death, speaking to a local attorney may open some doors for you.

Florida Prison Fatalities

More than 420 inmates died while in custody in Florida prisons last year, many of them at a fairly young age. In fact, the youngest inmate to lose a life was just 22 years old. Problems documented in the Florida prison system are disturbing:

  • Violence among and between inmates;
  • Gangs;
  • Staff use of force;
  • Poor healthcare delivery;
  • Substance abuse issues;
  • Behavioral health disorders;
  • Accidents;
  • More elderly inmates with associated health issues.

Some officials suspect the recent rise in the number of inmates with serious mental health problems has contributed to the staggering rise in fatalities. Over less than a decade, there has been more than a 50 percent increase in the demands for mental health services in Florida prisons.

Another factor to consider is that many inmates are serving longer sentences due to the elimination of parole as an option. As inmates age, their health needs often increase.

Drug abuse is a serious issue for inmates of all ages. K2, aka spice, is a synthetic drug comprised of various toxins that prisoners sometimes have access to. Gasoline, roach poison, and other noxious substances that are poured onto plants and smoked can lead to delusions, combative behavior, psychosis, and even death.

Hopelessness in prison lead some inmates to contemplate suicide. Despite policies to prevent such actions, many prisoners succeed in taking their own lives.

Staffing shortages make it difficult for underpaid guards to perform mandatory checks on cells. Guards frequently work long hours, and as their weariness grows, so do the incidence of mistakes. Additionally, tempers shorten and judgment wanes.

Investigations into Deaths

Of the over 400 deaths in Florida prisons in 2017, over 40 percent are currently under investigation. That tells us that nearly 200 individuals have met their death while in the custody of the state.

At the Law Offices of Robert W. Elton, we know that the law is designed to protect all residents of the state, whether they enjoy freedom or are incarcerated. When the system fails even one inmate, a thorough investigation and legal redress is essential.

In the event your loved one has succumbed to the vices of the prison system and lost their life for any reason beyond natural causes, our experienced legal team can help as you seek justice.  Contact us in Daytona and Ormond Beach for a confidential consultation today.