RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WVNS)– The daughter of a 46-year-old Wyoming County man who died at Southern Regional Jail recently said she wants U.S. Senator Joe Manchin to order a federal investigation of administrative oversight and practices at the jail.
The woman’s father, Alvis Shrewsbury is the fifth person who is known to have died at Southern Regional Jail in 2022, while serving a jail sentence. Further information on inmate deaths was unavailable on Tuesday, September 20, 2022.
Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office was notified by SRJ on Saturday of Shrewsbury’s death and delivered the news in person to his mother, Anna Shrewsbury, of the Bud area. SRJ representatives did not reference the manner of death, Wyoming officials reported.
Shrewsbury, a logger, was fighting substance abuse disorder but was in generally good physical health, his daughter, Miranda Smith of the Mullens area, said.
Smith said Shrewsbury was pulled over by police and, during the traffic stop, admitted that he had used an illegal narcotic. He was charged with second offense DUI, she said, and turned himself into authorities on August 29, 2022, which is the day he reported to jail.
Family members had FaceTime calls with Shrewsbury and became disturbed by his appearance during a virtual visit on September 10, 2022, said Smith.
“His face was black. He had black eyes,” recalled Smith. “He was telling me it was very hard to breathe and he couldn’t use the bathroom. He was calling the nurses station for help. People in his pod were calling the nurse’s station for help.”
“They got no response.”
She said her dad told family members he believed his ribs were broken. Smith also said she believes her father was denied medical care until his last night at the jail, shortly before his death.
Prime Care Medical of West Virginia, a private business based in Harrisburg, PA, provides medical services to incarcerated patients at Southern Regional, according to state officials. The Prime Care website reports that since 2001, the state also contracts the company to provide health services for West Virginia Division of Juvenile Services.
State officials did not immediately respond Tuesday to a request for information on the state’s contract with Prime Care Medical of West Virginia.
Gov. Jim Justice ordered West Virginia Department of Homeland Security to investigate the jail in April, after guards made reports to media outlets that inmates in the quarantine pod had been forced to drink out of a toilet.
Just five months before Shrewsbury’s death, state officials had investigated reports of human rights violations at the jail and ruled the reports were unfounded.
“Southern Regional Jail is a place where a lot of people are waiting for their day in court. We don’t have the death penalty in West Virginia. Nor should we have folks worried that when they enter Southern Regional Jail that they could receive the death penalty.”Christian Martine
Martine said severe staff shortages at state jails place incarcerated people, guards and general workers at a higher risk of being killed or injured. He wants Gov. Justice to call a special session for lawmakers to address the crisis in the state jail system, he said.
West Virginia Department of Homeland Security Deputy General Counsel Morgan Switzer declined to comment on reports of Shrewsbury’s death on Tuesday, September 20, 2022, citing an ongoing investigation by law enforcement.
West Virginia State Police is investigating Shrewsbury’s death.