WASHINGTON — Mayor Muriel Bower on Monday confirmed the first inmate death at the D.C. Central Detention Facility.
Deon Crowell, 51, passed away Monday morning, after being hospitalized from COVID-19, DOC officials confirm.
He was taken from the Correctional Treatment Facility and hospitalized on April 7, after testing positive for COVID-19 and experiencing respiratory issues. His next-of-kin were notified of his passing by the DOC Chaplain.
Crowell has been held at the DOC since June 29, 2018. He was diagnosed with COVID-19 on April 7 and was placed in isolation where he was monitored by medical staff according to guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and D.C. Health, officials said.
"Our condolences are with Mr. Crowell's family during this difficult time," D.C. Department of Corrections spokesperson Dr. Keena Blackmon said.
Blackmon said an email was sent to the staff at the D.C. Department of Corrections on April 13, notifying employees of Crowell's death.
WUSA9 first reported Crowell's attorneys had tried to secure a medical release days prior to his death. Attorney Elizabeth Weller released a statement to WUSA9 Monday afternoon.
"We are just devastated to learn of Deon Crowell’s death. He was awaiting trial. He was innocent and never proven guilty. There was no reason for him to die today.
"We asked the Court to release Mr. Crowell back on March 20th. He had multiple health problems and was particularly susceptible to COVID-19's complications. He was prepared to be on 100% home confinement with GPS monitoring until the pandemic risks lessened. But the Court did not action or rule on the motion, and he was housed at the Correctional Treatment Facility, where we know the outbreak is spreading exponentially every day.
"The Department of Corrections failed to take appropriate actions to protect Mr. Crowell and the other inmates. They utterly failed to implement necessary precautions. This was bound to happen to someone, and will continue to happen to others without immediate action by the Department of Corrections or court-ordered relief in the Public Defender Service and ACLU-DC lawsuit against the DOC over conditions at its facilities.
"Mr. Crowell leaves behind a loving family: his devoted wife, his daughter, two grandchildren, and four siblings. He was a lifelong District resident who was well known around his neighborhood to check in on older neighbors and clean up unkempt yards and alleys," Weller said.
On April 11, the DOC said four more inmates had tested positive, bringing the total to 51 infected inmates; nine have recovered.
The most recent inmates who tested positive range from a 23-year-old man to a 40-year-old man, DOC confirmed
The DOC’s Medical Department and Unity Healthcare are working with D.C. Health on contact tracing and to protect the health and wellbeing of all individuals in DOC’s facilities.
But DOC officers on April 1 said they filed a lawsuit alleging inmates at staff are not being properly protected during the outbreak.
Meanwhile, Bowser said they are looking into those allegations.