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Another family accuses CCA's Dawson State Jail of neglect in prisoner death

In May, we reported that the death of Pam Weatherby at Corrections Corporation of America's Dawson State Jail in 2010 was the seventh death at the facility since 2004. Weatherby was serving a one year sentence for drug possession when her health conditions - she was a brittle diabetic - rapidly deteriorated.

Now CBS 11 is reporting ("Another Family Blames Dawson State Jail For Inmate Death," June 14) that an additional family of a young incarcerated woman at the facility is blaming jail administrators for her death.  According to the report, 30 year-old  Ashleigh Shae Parks died with six months remaining on her 18 month drug possession sentence.

Her family says Ashleigh had pneumonia and they believe her death could have been prevented if she had simply gotten antibiotics sooner.  Their suspicions are based, in part, on letters they received from inmates at Dawson.

“I thought all she needed was medication, and all my daughter needed was antibiotics,” said Reni Palmer, Parks’ mother.

Parks’ family blames the staff at Dawson State Jail for not recognizing Ashleigh’s illness sooner.  They say they filed a lawsuit but later dropped it.

“The medical personnel in ICU told me there was basically nothing they could do for her. And these are the people at the hospital (who) told us that the prison killed my sister,” said Grady.  His anger and grief was renewed in April when he saw a CBS 11 investigation which raised troubling questions about a lack of medical care at Dawson State Jail.

CBS 11 says they've spoken to 20 people formerly incarcerated at Dawson who wanted to talk about medical conditions at the facility.  We'll keep you posted on developments in this ongoing story.  


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