Hearing held to address Alaska inmate deaths

A legislative hearing to address a recent string of Alaska inmate deaths has prompted a call for legislation to establish a third-party independent review of such deaths.

The Anchorage Daily News says officials with the state Department of Corrections attended the hearing to answer for the deaths of five young inmates at state correctional institutions between April and June.

The packed hearing was convened by state Sen. Hollis French, an Anchorage Democrat.

State Rep. Andy Josephson, an Anchorage Democrat who attended the meeting, says he will research the idea for a third-party independent review and consider introducing a bill for the next legislative session.

DOC officials say the recent deaths aren’t out of the ordinary. According to officials, 10 to 12 people die in Alaska jails each year.