Death Row Inmates Are Somehow Dying From Drug ODs

Calif. prisoners found dead with meth, heroin in their systems
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 29, 2016 3:33 AM CDT
Death Row Inmates Are Somehow Dying From Drug ODs
The entrance to the north segregation section of death row at San Quentin State Prison.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

California hasn't executed anybody for more than a decade, but some Death Row inmates are still being killed by lethal drugs. Records from the coroner's office reveal that between 2010 and 2015, at least six condemned San Quentin inmates died with methamphetamine, heroin, or other drugs in their systems, including a man who died with five meth- and pot-stuffed latex glove fingers in his intestines, the Los Angeles Times reports; at least one had burst. Over the same period, at least eight other Death Row inmates were hospitalized for non-lethal drug overdoses, records reveal. The Death Row problem mirrors rampant drug abuse throughout the California prison system.

So where are the drugs coming from? Former San Quentin workers tell the Times that Death Row security is so tight that the contraband is likely being supplied by staff members. But there are apparently a few security holes: The Marin Independent Journal reports that on Thursday, a Los Angeles teacher was arrested and charged with supplying heroin to Death Row inmate Bruce Millsap, a member of the East Coast Crips gang. Authorities say Teri Orina Nichols circumvented security measures to bring in three ounces of heroin for Millsap, along with 18 cell phones, 18 chargers, and even some food. (San Quentin's Death Row is running out of room for new prisoners.)

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