A 26-year-old Huntsville man was pronounced dead at the Bibb Correctional Facility on Nov. 11, according to the Alabama Department of Corrections.
Correctional officers found inmate Dewayne Foxx at around 9:30 a.m. on Nov. 11 lying on his side in his bed with no visible injuries, but he appeared to have vomited on himself, according to a press release Tuesday from the Alabama Department of Corrections.
Officials do not suspect foul play, and the cause of death is pending an autopsy, according to the release
Drug overdoses are not uncommon among inmates in state prisons, according to numerous news accounts and a report by the U.S. Department of Justice released in April.
“Dangerous and illegal drugs are highly prevalent in Alabama’s prisons, and ADOC appears unable or unwilling to prevent the introduction and presence of drugs in its prisons,” the DOJ report reads. “These drugs contribute to the ongoing violence and pose a substantial risk of future violence.”
Foxx was serving a 12-year sentence after his probation was revoked in 2015, court records show. In 2012 Foxx was convicted of first degree robbery and was given a 10-year split sentence. He was arrested on Feb. 14, 2014, while on probation and was found in possession of a pistol and a small amount of marijuana, according to the records.
Investigators with the DOJ found that synthetic cannabinoids are rampant in Alabama prisons, and the report states that the drugs can cause “severe and fatal poisoning,” and its effects may include “rapid loss of consciousness/coma, cardiovascular effects . . . , seizures and convulsions, vomiting/hyperemesis, delirium, agitation, psychosis, and aggressive and violent behavior.”
The DOJ report notes that a review of autopsies from 2017 and the first half of 2018 found the drug in numerous facilities, including the prison in Bibb County.
“..a review of autopsy reports from prisoner deaths dating December 2016 through August 2018 revealed that at least 22 were caused by “synthetic cannabinoid toxicity” overdoses,” the report reads. “And since we opened our investigation into Alabama’s prisons, the problem has become worse—there were three deadly overdoses in 2016 and nine in 2017. The first half of 2018 (after which ADOC stopped producing documents to us) was especially deadly; during that timeframe, at least 10 deaths were attributed to synthetic cannabinoid toxicity.”
“To the extent contraband is introduced by staff, it is contributing to the problem. ADOC staff, who are not screened for contraband upon entry to a prison, have been consistently identified by ADOC leadership as contributing to the contraband problem,” the report reads. “Requiring all individuals—management and line staff—to be screened at entry, would ensure ADOC takes seriously the need to prevent and address contraband within Alabama’s prisons.”
Several correctional officers have been charged with smuggling, or attempting to smuggle, drugs into state prisons in recent months.