Inmate Johnny Bradley, 61, Died Following Medical Emergency At Rusk County Jail
RUSK COUNTY, TEXAS (October 18, 2023) - An inmate identified as Johnny Bradley has tragically died after being found unresponsive in his cell at the Rusk County Jail.
Rusk County officials are saying that the incident began on Sunday, July 23. Jail staff said that they found Johnny Bradley unresponsive on his bed.
Medical staff entered the cell and began CPR. He was transported to a local hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
In a subsequent investigation, it was later determined that jail officials were non-compliant with events surrounding the death of Johnny Bradley. In particular, jailers did not see the inmate face-to-face for observation as required by the minimum standards.
A full investigation into the in-custody death remains ongoing at this time.
Liability For Rusk County Jail Inmate Deaths
Texas has one of the highest rates of in-custody deaths in the entire nation. According to the Texas Justice Initiative, “Since 2005, 13,345 people have died in the custody of Texas law enforcement, based on state-mandated reports.” The year 2020 has the highest occurrence of Texas inmate deaths on record at 982. This was partially due to the effects of the ongoing pandemic. There are many reasons that an inmate may die in-custody.
- Inmates enter jail with a variety of medical conditions. It is common for inmates to not receive the same level of medical care as inmates outside of the prison system. This can contribute to poor health outcomes.
- Drug overdoses are also one of the major causes of in-custody death. It is common for overdoses to involve dangerous opioids such as fentanyl.
- Violence is also commonplace inside of jails. Texas has a high rate of inmate-on-inmate homicides.
All jails have a legal obligation to provide inmates with reasonably adequate care. This care should begin before an inmate is ever admitted. Jails should do a face-to-face health screening and work to understand an inmate’s medical needs. If a jail is deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of an inmate this could form the basis of a constitutional claim. Many correctional facilities contract with private healthcare providers. In such cases, both the jail and the contractor could share liability if medical neglect occurs. It is important that victims of medical neglect should take a number of actions in order to preserve their rights.
- Medical records related to any in-custody death should be preserved. In certain instances, it may be a good idea to have an independent autopsy performed.
- Surveillance footage related to the incident should be examined. Most areas in a jail including common areas are under some level of surveillance.
- An experienced civil rights attorney should be contacted. A legal advocate can examine the unique facts of your case and get to the bottom of what contributed to any in-custody death.
Not every instance of medical neglect will rise to the level of a violation of the constitution. These cases can be extremely complex and are best handled by trained professionals. This is why it is so crucial to seek skilled legal advice after any in-custody death. Jails will do everything that they can to deny liability if any inmate dies in their care. They are quick to label in-custody deaths as stemming from “natural” causes, even when this label is grossly misleading.
Investigating Rusk County Jail Inmate Deaths
We at Scott H. Palmer, P.C. extend our deepest condolences to the family of Johnny Bradley. There needs to be a thorough investigation into what happened. The reports that jail staff failed to follow protocol leading up to this death remain deeply concerning. There are so many questions that sill need to be answered.
Do you need more information about an in-custody death at the Rusk County Jail? Our team of civil rights attorneys are here to assist you with whatever you need. We care deeply that jails are following constitutional standards and that they are held liable for medical neglect. Whether you just have legal questions or need a free, independent investigation into any incident we are here for you. You can contact us anytime at 214-987-4100.