Warden, Multiple Staff Members Charged After Deaths of Inmates

Warden, Staff Charged After Deaths of Inmates

(RepublicanView.org) – Several prison officials in Wisconsin are facing serious charges after a series of deaths among inmates under their watch.

The warden, two nurses, and six correctional officers for Waupun Correctional Institution are being charged with multiple felony counts related to misconduct and inmate abuse. All nine, including Warden Randall Hepp, pleaded not guilty after turning themselves in on June 5.

The arrests come after four inmates died at the prison within the past year. One of those inmates, Dean Hoffman, reportedly committed suicide during his stay in solitary confinement in June 2023. No charges were filed at the time, but his daughter filed a lawsuit in a federal court in February on grounds that the staff failed to adequately monitor Hoffman’s mental state.

Another inmate, Tyshun Lemons, was reported to have died after overdosing on acetyl fentanyl. Officials aren’t sure how the 30-year-old managed to procure the dangerous drug during his incarceration.

Inmate Cameron Williams reportedly screamed in agony and begged for help before dying from a stroke. The 24-year-old had spent two months in solitary confinement. He allegedly remained in his cell for about a day and a half after going silent before the prison’s staff finally checked on him. He previously told an advocate for inmates that he needed to be hospitalized.

The most recent inmate to die, Donald Maier, reportedly succumbed to dehydration and malnourishment. His death was determined to be a homicide. Other inmates said Maier had been pleading for water ahead of his death, and he reportedly attempted to drink toilet water. Staff were also accused of ignoring him while he suffered from seizures.

Dale Schmidt, the sheriff of Dodge County, said the state’s “oldest prison” was being managed in a “dangerous and reckless manner.” He is currently leading the ongoing investigation. He said the prison needs to implement a number of changes regarding training, accountability, and staffing.

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