JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The News4JAX I-TEAM has reported on 12 in-custody deaths at the Duval County jail so far this year, including three in the past month and a half.
State Representatives Angie Nixon and Tracie Davis are now asking the Department of Justice for a federal investigation. The DOJ responded to their request, acknowledging the letter and referring it for review.
“The Department does not ordinarily confirm or deny the existence of an investigation. You should not interpret this acknowledgment as confirmation of an investigation of the matters described in your letter,” the letter reads, in part.
Rep. Nixon and Rep. Davis asked U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to “investigate the skyrocketing deaths and the reports of people not receiving necessary medication while in custody in Duval County jail.”
Just last week, a 68-year-old inmate died at the jail. He is the first to die since the jail switched to a new health services provider, Naphcare, after the city ended its previous contract with a different provider in July.
Armor, the previous provider, was terminated after JSO said it found that Armor failed to provide a number of things, including failing to meet reporting requirements and failure to disclose a criminal conviction.
Sheriff T.K. Waters said he had learned the company had been found guilty in connection to a Wisconsin inmate’s death. But Naphcare has also faced controversy stemming from lawsuits alleging that it lied about the level of care it provided to upcharge taxpayers.
According to the Tributary, Nixon said she plans to respond to the DOJ’s letter by asking them to escalate any potential investigation to include JSO and its new contractor.
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