Frostproof, Florida – The leading causes of death among inmates in state and federal prisons are natural causes, accidental injury, suicide, and homicide. Although the Justice Department is failing to adequately and efficiently collect data about deaths in state prisons and local jails, with at least 990 incidents going uncounted by the federal government in fiscal year 2021 alone, it is important to note that inmate mortality rates in the United States have been decreasing over time. In the 1980s, the mortality rate in state and federal prisons was around 300 deaths per 100,000 inmates. By 2018, the mortality rate had decreased to around 120 deaths per 100,000 inmates.
An inmate in a Florida jail died last week following a violent altercation with deputies. According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the inmate, Eric Nelson, was taken to Frostproof jail after being arrested on charges of possessing methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.
The violent altercation started when deputies decided to move him to a medical dorm and place him on suicide watch after he began kicking the cell door. As soon as the deputies opened the cell, Nelson attacked them, but they eventually managed to restrain him.
Authorities are of the opinion that he was under the influence of drugs since he exhibited excessive strength while fighting the deputies.
After the altercation, the deputies took him to a cell and placed him on the ground so they could remove the handcuffs, only to realize he wasn’t breathing.
An investigation is currently underway to determine the cause of death.