Inmate Dale Hilts (Full Name: Dale Jerome Hilts) Died Following Medical Emergency At East Texas Treatment Facility In Henderson
RUSK COUNTY, TEXAS (January 21, 2023) - A 64-year-old inmate identified as Dale Hilts has tragically died following a medical emergency at a Texas Department of Criminal Justice jail in Henderson.
TDCJ officials are saying that the incident began on January 13. Correctional officers noticed that Dale Hilts was in need of medical aid.
Jail medical staff began life-saving measures in order to help the inmate. Sadly, Dale Hilts was later pronounced dead.
His medical cause of death was listed as a stroke. A full investigation remains ongoing at this time.
Liability For TDCJ Inmate Deaths
Inmates typically contend with a variety of different health issues. According to Oxford Academic, “There are more than 10 million people imprisoned worldwide. These individuals experience a higher burden of communicable and non-communicable disease, mental health and substance misuse problems than the general population and often come from marginalized and underserved groups in the community.” These health issues could easily lead an inmate to die from a number of different illnesses or conditions including:
- Heart attack
- Septic shock
The Eighth Amendment to the constitution prohibits jails from punishing inmates in ways that are deemed to be cruel and unusual. The Supreme Court has held time and time again that failing to give inmates care for their medical needs is a form of cruel and unusual punishment and therefore prohibited. The level of care that an inmate may need will depend largely on their unique health profile. Inmates with a variety of different health conditions may need more extensive care.
- Inmates with known suicidal ideations may need to be placed in special cells and be closely monitored.
- Inmates with pre-existing health conditions may need certain medications and regular checkups.
- Inmates who are displaying certain symptoms such as chest pain may require hospitalization.
It can be hard to know where to begin after any inmate death. The sense of grief that a person often feels is usually compounded by lingering questions about what happened. Unfortunately, jails are rarely transparent about what may have caused an inmate death. The family of any person that died in a jail may have legal recourse through a civil claim. This is why it is important to seek legal counsel early on.
Investigating TDCJ Inmate Deaths
We at Scott H. Palmer, P.C. extend our deepest condolences to the family of Dale Hilts. There needs to be a thorough investigation into what went wrong. It is our hope that a greater insight into what happened will help prevent other tragedies like this down the road.
Do you need more information about a TDCJ inmate death? Our team of civil rights attorneys are here to answer any questions that you may have. We are committed to holding jails accountable for their illegal and unconstitutional actions. Far too many inmate deaths across Texas either involve abuse or neglect. 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.