NEWS RELEASE from the office of Senator John Whitmire

January 14, 2008
Larance Coleman

Whitmire Alarmed Over Inmate Homicide and Conditions in the Prison System

AUSTIN, Texas -- State Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston) today announced his serious alarm at the chain of events in the death of a Texas inmate from medical neglect complicating blunt force trauma. The death ruled a homicide by the Galveston County Medical Examiner last February remains unexplained.

"I and the public demand answers to this prison homicide. How did this happen? Who is responsible and how can we prevent events like this from happening in the future?" "I can no longer keep my request for explanations internal to my office," stated Senator Whitmire. "Who committed the murder and why are they not being brought to justice?"

"We have a certified death certificate that states an inmate's death was homicide by medical neglect complicating blunt force trauma. We must examine this occurrence and the sequence of events that resulted in such a death," the Senator continued. "We will examine the process in detail at a Senate Criminal Justice Committee hearing." "We must review and identify critical problems within our prison system that allows this type of death including a review of the legal system, the health care system, and the severe shortage of guards," stated Whitmire.

Senator Whitmire sent letters to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Texas Rangers asking them to investigate. Senator Whitmire has also set a hearing of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee for Thursday, January 24, 2008 at 10:00AM, to examine the process and question those responsible for the safe keeping of inmates, along with the parties responsible for pursuing an investigation into prison deaths.