News Releases

Out of State Inmate Death Under Investigation

MASON, TENNESSEE A California inmate at an out-of-state facility died of an apparent heart attack yesterday while observing an inmate group disturbance. The death occurred at the West Tennessee Detention Facility in Mason, Tennessee on Wednesday, May 9, 2007, at approximately 8:25 p.m. (CST). The inmate apparently suffered the heart attack when a fight erupted between approximately 20 inmates in the housing unit dayroom. The inmate was given life saving techniques on site by staff, but was later pronounced dead at the facility by EMS responders. The official cause of death is pending autopsy results. No other inmates were seriously injured and the institution remains on lockdown status while the incident is under investigation.

The deceased inmate, 48-year-old Anthony Kelly, was a second striker received from Los Angeles County on March 24, 2003, and was serving an eight-year sentence for transportation and sale of a controlled substance.

The case is under investigation by the Tipton County Sheriff’s Office, Tipton County Coroner’s Office, Mason Police Department and Tennessee Bureau of Investigations as well as representatives from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The Office of Inspector General’s Bureau of Independent Review was notified.

CDCR has had a three-year contract since November 2006 with the Correctional Corporation of America (CCA), headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, to house inmates. Since November, approximately 80 California inmates have voluntarily transferred to the West Tennessee Detention Facility operated by CCA. Each inmate transferred to CCA facilities is housed in a secure, private correctional facility with other inmates from California. Although CCA operates a private institution, they are required by contract to operate them consistent with all CDCR policies and procedures, and California law.