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Bureau of Corrections Confirms 55-Year-Old Man Died At John Bell Prison Friday

FREDERIKSTED — The Virgin Islands Bureau of Corrections confirmed Monday that an inmate at the John A. Bell Adult Correctional Facility was found unresponsive and pronounced dead on Friday, September 17, 2021.

According to a preliminary investigative report, the deceased was a 55-year-old male inmate.

There were no obvious signs of foul play. The Bureau’s medical and security staff followed the proper protocol in responding and notifying the Virgin Islands Police Department.

BOC’s Medical Director, Dr. Linda Callwood, immediately notified the next of kin. As per protocol, the Bureau now awaits an autopsy to be conducted by the Virgin Islands Department of Justice Medical Examiner’s Office.

The Bureau will be able to provide more information upon the conclusion of the internal and external investigations.

The John A. Bell Adult Correctional Facility is on a modified lockdown but with strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocols.

In-person visits, work details, and prisoner furloughs remain suspended, as they have been since the start of the pandemic.

Court hearings held virtually remain unaffected.

Attorneys may visit with prisoners via secure video conference by contacting the facility to schedule a video visit.

By John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.