Two more people die after a short time in Alaska Corrections custody

This symbol is inside of the Alaska Department of Corrections office on Sept. 7, 2022, in Douglas, Alaska. (Photo by Lisa Phu/Alaska Beacon)

Two people died this week after a short time in Alaska Department of Corrections custody, bringing the total number of in-custody deaths this year to 14.

Lewey Matoomealook, 37, was pronounced dead on Sept. 25 at Alaska Regional Hospital after 13 days in Corrections custody, becoming the 13th person to die in the state’s prison system this year.

The next day, Marcus Gillion, 48, was pronounced dead on Sept. 26 also at Alaska Regional Hospital after seven days in Corrections custody. Gillion was the department’s 14th in-custody death for 2022, according to a Corrections press release.

Of the 14 deaths to occur in Corrections custody so far this year, several have taken place after only a short time in state care. Two deaths in August occurred after less than 24 hours.

Next of kin for Matoomealook and Gillion have been notified and no foul play is suspected in either death, the Corrections release said.

The number of in-custody deaths so far this year had already surpassed the nine in-custody deaths that took place last year. Within the past 10 years, Corrections saw the most deaths in 2015; 15 people died in custody that year.

The Troopers investigate every in-custody death and the State Medical Examiner’s Office determines the cause. Citing confidentiality, Corrections does not release medical information.

This story originally appeared in the Alaska Beacon and is republished here with permission.

Alaska Beacon

Alaska Beacon is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Alaska Beacon maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Andrew Kitchenman for questions: Follow Alaska Beacon on Facebook and Twitter.

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