Inmate Christopher Bellows, 45, Died Following Medical Emergency At Galveston County Jail
GALVESTON, TEXAS (October 25, 2023) - A 45-year-old inmate identified as Christopher Bellows has tragically died following a medical emergency at a Galveston County jail.
Galveston County officials are saying that the incident began on September 25. Correctional officers noticed that Christopher Bellows was in medical distress and he was transported to a hospital in order to receive treatment.
He continued to receive treatment at the hospital, but he later died around 2:21 a.m. on October 24. His cause of death was listed as “Metastatic Cecal Adenocarcinoma.”
A full investigation into the in-custody death remains ongoing at this time.
Liability For Galveston County Inmate Deaths
People enter the prisons system with all sorts of medical issues. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, “In 2011–12, an estimated 40% of state and federal prisoners and jail inmates reported having a current chronic medical condition while about half reported ever having a chronic medical condition.” There are a number of steps that jails should take to prevent in-custody deaths.
- Jails should give inmates a proper health screening when they are first admitted.
- Inmates with greater health needs might need additional monitoring to ensure that they are alright.
- Jails should have plenty of well trained correctional officers and medical staff to provide care.
Every inmate has a constitutional right to receive reasonably adequate healthcare. Failing to give inmates care for their serious medical needs is a violation of the Fourth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. If a jail is deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of an inmate, this could form the basis of a constitutional claim. It is crucial that evidence is properly preserved after any in-custody death.
- The number of deaths at the institution where the inmate was housed should be known.
- Surveillance footage related to the in-custody death should be reviewed.
- Toxicology reports should be sought.
- Witness interviews should be taken.
Jails are often quick to label in-custody deaths as natural. But this label is often highly misleading. Many in-custody deaths are the result of medical neglect. For example, a jail may fail to send an inmate to the hospital in a timely manner when they needed care. The family of any inmate that died in-custody my have legal recourse through a constitutional claim.
Investigating Galveston County Inmate Deaths
We at Scott H. Palmer, P.C. extend our deepest condolences to the family of Christopher Bellows. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. It is our sincere hope that measures are taken to prevent other tragedies like this.
Do you need more information about a Galveston County inmate death? Our team of civil rights advocates are here to help in any way that we can. We care deeply that inmates are aware of their rights and that jails are following the constitution. Whether you just have legal questions or need a free, independent investigation into any incident we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at 214-987-4100.