Inmate Thomas Rolston, 56, Died In-Custody At Bell County Jail
BELL COUNTY, TEXAS (October 30, 2023) - A 56-year-old inmate identified as Thomas Rolston has tragically died after some type of medical emergency at a Bell County Jail.
Bell County officials are saying that the incident took place on October 19. Thomas Rolston was in a multi-occupancy cell when one of his cellmates advised officers that he was not felling well.
The correctional officer on duty told the infirmary that the inmate would be taken to the hospital to get treatment for chest pain. But when the correctional officer came back to the cell, he noticed that Thomas Rolston was unresponsive.
Medical staff began performing life-saving measures which were taken over by paramedics. Thomas Rolston was taken to White Hospital in Temple where he was later pronounced dead.
A full investigation into the incident remains ongoing at this time.
Liability For Bell County Inmate Deaths
In-custody deaths are unfortunately very common across the United States. A large portion of inmate deaths involve heart related medical issues. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Heart diseases (27%), including heart attacks, and cancer (23%) caused half of all State prisoner deaths from 2001 to 2004. When combined with liver diseases (10%) and AIDS-related causes (7%), two-thirds of all State prisoner deaths were caused by these four medical conditions.” There are a number of signs that jails should look out for which could indicate an inmate may have a cardiac event like a heart attack.
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea or vomiting
- Profuse sweating
All jails have a legal obligation to provide inmates with reasonably adequate healthcare. When an inmate enters a jail with pre-existing medical conditions that could be life-threatening, certain constitutional standards will apply. It is essential that correctional facilities establish and maintain comprehensive healthcare policies to adhere to these constitutional standards. If a jail is deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of an inmate with pre-existing medical conditions, this could form the basis of a constitutional claim. Jails should take a number of measures to prevent in-custody deaths.
- Inmates should get a thorough health screening before they are admitted.
- Jails should establish procedures for carefully monitoring inmates at greater risk of having medical emergencies.
- Jails staff should be well-trained to understand when an inmate is in medical distress.
Many jail deaths are preventable and involve some amount of medical neglect. One of the most common forms of neglect is that jail officials will fail to send inmates to the hospital for more extensive care when this is needed. In far too many situations, jail officials will wait to help inmates until after they’ve gone into medical distress. The family of any person that died in custody may have legal recourse through a constitutional claim. A civil rights attorney can examine all of the unique facts of your case and let you know what your legal options are.
Investigating Bell County Inmate Deaths
We at Scott H. Palmer, P.C. extend our deepest condolences to the family of Thomas Rolston. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to police. This incident raises so many questions that still need to be answered. Jail officials should do the right thing and be completely transparent with this inmates family.
Do you need more information about a Bell County inmate death? Our team of civil rights attorneys are here to help in any way that we can. We care deeply that inmates are aware of their rights and that those rights are being protected. 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.