Warden says inmate was monitored less than court required

An Alabama prison official tells a federal judge that a now-dead prisoner was placed on mental health observation instead of suicide watch after a previous attempt to kill himself.

Posted: Apr. 23, 2018 6:55 PM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama prison official tells a federal judge that a now-dead prisoner was placed on mental health observation instead of suicide watch after a previous attempt to kill himself.

Warden Cynthia Stewart of Holman Correctional Facility near Atmore also testified in a hearing Monday that he didn't receive checks as frequently as a court order demanded.

Billy Thornton fell and hit his head after hanging himself in his cell in February. He died after being taken off life support four days later.

The Alabama Department of Corrections said in a statement Friday Thornton's death is under investigation to determine whether it was a suicide. Stewart says she considers the death an accident because Thornton fell.

The Southern Poverty Law Center sued Alabama's prison system for inadequate health care in 2014.

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