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Marion County Jail Inmate Dies in Cell During Shakedown

Steve Wagner

27-year-old Nicholas Grant was found unresponsive in his Marion County Jail cell on Friday night just before 10 p.m. By 10:34, he was dead.

Grant was being held at Jail II on charges of resisting law enforcement, disorderly conduct, and criminal confinement. Statements have not made clear how long he had been held at the time of his death, but the investigators believe he died of a drug overdose after swallowing a balloon full of heroin. At the time this occurred, 40 Marion County Sheriff’s deputies were in the middle of a five-hour shakedown intended to rid the facility of rampant drugs, weapons, and other contraband. Marion County Sheriff, John Layton, called the death of Nicholas Grant “an unfortunate deal directly connected to the fact that we were hitting the place at the time.”

Thus far, the investigation into the incident has involved the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD), Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO), Marion County Coroner’s Office, and Marion County Forensic Services Agency.

Serious Drug and Weapons Problem at Jail II

Layton says he was informed last week of a drastic increase in drugs and other problems at Jail II, a facility operated by a private company, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). He was unable to comment on whom might have been smuggling drugs and weapons into Jail II, but a former employee claims there appeared to have been involvement of CCA employees earlier this year.

A military veteran, Gabe Frost, said he felt safer in Iraq than in Jail II. Though Warden Jeff Conway told Fox 59 News this past summer that the staff to offender ratio was 1:5, Frost says it was often closer to 1:150. He quit his position after only two months because he was so often alone and felt unsafe. During his tenure, there were CCA employees brought in from other facilities due to chronic understaffing, but after an explosion of drug activity, he says they were sent back to their facilities for termination.

Are There Other Victims of Jail II?

The question really is about how deep the problems run at Jail II. How many inmates have been hurt or died as a result of a toxic culture driven by drug smuggling, corruption, and understaffing? Prisons have an obligation to their charges to ensure the safety of those imprisoned within their walls. It certainly sounds plausible that CCA may bear some responsibility for entrenched problems at their facilities.

Family members and other inmates claim at least two other inmates have fallen prey to the dangerous culture inside Jail II recently and similarly to Nicholas Grant. One father says he was told by an inmate that his son had overdosed. Joseph Armanno has not been able to get confirmation or denial about his son’s well-being from MCSO, CCA, or area hospitals.

Krystal Perkinson’s brother, David, is said by family members to be on life support. The former inmate at Jail II is now in the custody of MCSO, but Perkinson says the family has been unable to gain important information about David’s condition.

Marion County is near the end of a ten-year, nearly $10 million per year contract with CCA. How many people have suffered as a result of this contract and CCA’s practices at their correctional facility? If a correctional facility’s negligence resulted in your loved one’s death, the jail death attorneys at Wagner Reese can help you win damages that may provide for much-needed family support. Equally importantly, your voice can work toward preventing these deaths from occurring in the future. Call us today at (888) 204-8440 for a completely free consultation.


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