Inmate Robert Shelton (Full Name: Robert Vance Shelton) Died Following Medical Emergency At Harris County Jail
HARRIS COUNTY, TEXAS (November 17, 2023) - A 60-year-old inmate identified as Robert Shelton has tragically died after a medical emergency at a Harris County Jail.
Harris County officials are saying that the incident began on October 29. Robert Shelton was transported to St Joseph Hospital for low blood pressure and oxygen levels.
The next day on October 30 he was transported to Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Hospital. During his time at the hospital, Robert Shelton was intubated and placed on a ventilator.
Despite continued medical efforts, he was pronounce dead at the hospital. A full investigation into the in-custody death remains ongoing at this time.
Liability For Harris County Inmate Deaths
Texas has one of the highest instances of inmate deaths. According to Prison Legal News, “There are over 1,000 prisoner deaths each year in U.S. jails, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and one of every ten occurs in Texas. Over the nine-month period between October 1, 2017 and July 1, 2018, some 80 prisoners died in Texas jails – a rate 22 percent above the national average over the previous 13 years.” There are many factors that can contribute to in-custody deaths.
- Inmate deaths are much more likely to occur at jails that lack sufficient oversight.
- Inmate deaths are much more likely to occur at jails that are overcrowded.
- Inmate deaths are much more likely to occur at jails that lack air conditioning, which includes every jail in Texas.
- Inmate deaths are much more likely to occur when jails lack sufficient medical resources such as Nalaxone.
All jails have a legal obligation to provide inmates with adequate healthcare for all of their medical needs. This includes continuously monitoring inmates through welfare checks. Inmates with pre-existing medical conditions will typically need greater levels of care. If a jail is deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of an inmate, this could form the basis of a negligence claim. It is important that evidence is properly preserved after any inmate death.
- The medical records of the inmate that died should be sought.
- Body camera footage from all officers involved should be reviewed.
- The history of welfare checks that the inmate received should be understood.
Jail deaths are often highly preventable. They tend to take place due to systemic failures within the prison system. This can include allowing inmates to gain access to dangerous drugs. It can also include failing to address the specific health needs that each inmate faces. The family of any inmate that died in-custody may have legal recourse through a civil claim. A civil rights attorney can examine all of the unique facts of your case free of cost and let you know if any jail death was due to medical neglect.
Investigating Harris County Inmate Deaths
We at Scott H. Palmer, P.C. extend our deepest condolences to the family of Robert Shelton. Any person that may have more information about what happened should come forward and speak with investigators. It is our sincere hope that steps are taken to prevent other tragedies like this.
Do you need more information about a Harris County inmate death? Our team of civil rights attorneys are here to answer any questions that you may have. We are committed to helping inmates understand their rights and holding jails accountable for their unconstitutional actions. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of support we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at 214-987-4100.