Inmate Joe Hodges (Full Name: Joe Lee Hodges) Died Following Medical Emergency At Texas Department of Criminal Justice In Galveston
GALVESTON COUNTY, TEXAS (January 15, 2024) - A 60-year-old inmate identified as Joe Hodges has tragically died following a medical emergency while staying at a Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Galveston.
Galveston County officials are saying that the incident began on December 18. Jail staff noticed that Joe Hodges was in medical distress.
He was transported to a hospital in order to receive further care. Sadly, his condition continued to decline at the hospital. On January 9, Joe Hodges was pronounced dead by medical staff.
His cause of death was listed as cardiopulmonary arrest.
Liability For Galveston Inmate Deaths
Texas has one of the highest instances of inmate deaths in the United States. Many of these deaths are concentrated in a few key areas across the state. According to 12 News, “Nearly a third of the inmates allegedly killed by fellow inmates in the Texas prison system this year died while incarcerated in Southeast Texas. On Tuesday, September 6, 2923, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice instituted an "immediate lockdown and comprehensive search" of all prisons in the state according to a news release from the agency.” There are a number of common causes of inmate deaths.
- Drug intoxication
- Heart attacks
Depending on the facts of any case, a jail or private healthcare provider could be liable if an inmate in their care dies. When an inmate has a pre-existing medical condition, they must receive proper care. Failing to give inmates adequate care puts them at undo risk for serious health consequences. Correctional facilities have protocols for how certain health conditions and emergencies must be dealt with. When these protocols are intentionally not followed, this could form the basis of a constitutional claim. It is important that certain steps are taken after any inmate death.
- Eye witnesses should be interviewed.
- Medical records should be preserved.
- An independent autopsy may need to be performed.
- An experienced civil rights attorney should be contacted.
It can be hard to know where to begin after any inmate death. To make matters worse, jails are rarely transparent about how any in-custody death took place. Jails are often quick to label inmate deaths as “natural,” but this designation can often be highly inaccurate. Many supposedly “natural” deaths involve some amount of medical neglect. The family of any person that died in-custody may have legal recourse through a civil claim.
Investigating Galveston Inmate Deaths
We at Scott H. Palmer, P.C. extend our deepest condolences to the family of Joe Hodges. It is our sincere hope that there is a thorough investigation into what happened. Galveston County has proven to be a very dangerous place for inmates. State officials need to do their part and implement greater oversight.
Have you or someone that you care about been harmed while staying at a Galveston County jail? Our team of civil rights attorneys are here to answer any questions that you may have. We care deeply that jails are held accountable for medical neglect and 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.