The Jefferson County Coroner’s office has confirmed the death of an incarcerated individual at Donaldson Correctional Facility on Saturday.
Kevin Marcus Ritter, a 33-year-old incarcerated man at the Jefferson County facility, was found unresponsive in an open-style dormitory at the prison on the evening of Jan. 7, according to the coroner’s report released on Monday morning.
“The cause of death is pending additional laboratory studies, but an autopsy found no evidence of trauma or foul play,” the coroner said on Monday.
The Alabama Department of Corrections has yet to respond to a request for information on Ritter’s death.
The department’s Law Enforcement Services Division is investigating the circumstances of Ritter’s death, as with all cases of death within state facilities.
Statistics showing the total number of deaths per month in state correctional facilities are no longer released, except within quarterly reports sent to a joint legislative oversight committee in the Alabama State Legislature, which is not published with regularity by the ADOC.
Fatalities and other incidents within the ADOC are thus only released regularly as part of media inquests or requests by non-profits.
Recently, a spokesperson for the ADOC told Alabama Appleseed that the department recorded 266 fatalities in state facilities in 2022 – the largest loss of life in the history of state corrections since at least 2002.
Critically low numbers of corrections officers and an unrelenting flood of narcotics into Alabama prisons left un-checked by corrections officials are directly leading to increased levels of death and deprivation at levels not seen in two decades.
This far this year, at least two other incarcerated individuals died in state custody: Ariene Kimbrough, a 35-year-old at Limestone Correctional Facility, and Brandon Taylor, a 39-year-old incarcerated at Staton Correctional facility.
Kimbrough’s death is being investigated as a homicide by the ADOC’s Law Enforcement Services Division, who have yet to release any further information on the death or ensuing investigation.