Three incarcerated people die in Alabama prisons during weekend

The January deaths follow a year in which 266 people died in Alabama prisons, the highest number the state has seen in 20 years.

Three incarcerated people died in Alabama prisons over the weekend, including two at one of the deadliest prisons in the state.

Trenton Jamario White, who was 30; Justin Douglas Grubis, 43, of Madison, and a third man, 61, whose identity is pending notification of next of kin, all died in Alabama Department of Corrections’ custody during the last weekend of January. White and the unidentified man, both of Gadsden, were at the Donaldson Correctional Facility in Bessemer, according to The Montgomery Adviser.

Jefferson County Chief Deputy Coroner Bill Yates said prison staff discovered White unresponsive in his cell at 5:34 a.m. on Saturday, and he was pronounced dead at 5:48. While additional laboratory studies are pending, foul play is not suspected.

Alabama prisons
Elmore Correctional Facility is among Alabama’s prisons. Three incarcerated people passed away in two of the state’s other prisons during the last weekend in January. (Photo: Brynn Anderson/AP, File)

Grubis, who was at the Ventress Correctional Facility in Clayton, was also found unresponsive in his cell Saturday, according to ADOC spokeswoman Kelly Betts. Staffers took him to the prison infirmary, where doctors attempted to revive him.

The third man was found unconscious in his cell on Sunday and later was declared dead. Like White, his cause of death is pending additional laboratory studies, but an autopsy reportedly shows nothing suspicious.

According to the Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, a nonprofit organization that tackles the causes of injustice in the Cotton State, 266 people died in Alabama’s overcrowded and understaffed prisons in 2022, marking the highest number of deaths since at least 2002.

Based on the state’s prison population last year, those 266 deaths amounted to 1,330 deaths per 100,000 prisoners, roughly 200 percent higher than a decade ago. At least 95 deaths —homicides, suicides and those suspected of being drug-related — were preventable.

Although there has been an increase in deaths in Alabama’s prisons, it is unknown precisely what its Department of Corrections is doing to address the problem, according to Alabama Appleseed research.

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