2 new inmate deaths inside Broward jails raise questions

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) – Two new deaths inside jails in Broward County are raising new questions about the living conditions for the inmates inside of them.

According to officials, certain inmates inside the jail no longer have visitation rights.

One Broward inmate was in medical distress and could be seen slumped over after suffering from several mini strokes while in custody at a Broward County jail, according to his attorneys.

However, instead of getting him the medical attention he needed, his attorneys said Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies brought him into court slumped over and drooling for a hearing.

“It is very disheartening to have individuals treated in such an inhumane manner where they are just left to languish in their own drool and spit rather than being treated appropriately in the jail,” Broward Assistant Public Defender Gordon Weekes said.

The Broward Public Defender’s Office has been complaining to the sheriff about conditions in the jail throughout the year.

Leaders in the office sent Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony another letter that said “… two more individuals have died while in custody at the jail.” The public defender’s office also demanded “urgency” in what they call a “repetitive series of medical neglect.”

The public defender said inmate Richard Cramer committed suicide in jail in December after being in custody for less than three weeks.

A day after Cramer’s death, inmate Ryan Bergin died while supposedly going through active detox, but the public defender said the circumstances are suspect.

“We are seriously concerned about how people are being treated in the jail,” Weekes said. “The level of medical attention they are receiving in the jail.”

7News has been investigating the issues in Broward jails involving mentally ill inmates.

In March, a mentally-ill man cut his penis off with the blade from a razor after being in solitary confinement.

In a letter to the sheriff, the public defender detailed 10 incidents over the last year when inmates either did not receive the medical treatment they needed or died behind bars.

“There is a time for talking, and there is a time for action,” Weekes said. “Now that we are seeing these incidents become a pattern, we need a time for action, and we have to make sure that folks are being treated appropriately within that jail.”

BSO said they are investigating the in-custody deaths along with the medical examiner’s office.

They added that when the public defender has sent similar letters in the past, most of the allegations were determined to be unfounded.

2 new inmate deaths inside Broward jails raise questions