I-TEAM: Records show history of problems with medications at Duval County jail years before inmate death

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A weekend in the Duval County on a misdemeanor was a death sentence for Dexter Barry, his family says. The 54-year-old died in November after he didn’t receive his medication at the jail that kept his body from rejecting his heart transplant.

Records show questions about whether inmates were getting their prescriptions here at the jail go back at least five years. There is also a report of medications disappearing.

In the case of Dexter Barry, his family believes the jail made a fatal mistake.

“It it almost feels like I still haven’t fully accepted the fact that my Dad isn’t here,” said Barry’s daughter Janelle King.

King lost her father more than seven months ago.

“It’s hard,” she said.

His death has rocked her family. It’s also prompted the City of Jacksonville, the Sheriff’s Office, and the state to take a closer look at the the company tasked with providing healthcare to inmates at the Duval County jail, Armor Correctional Health Services.

Attorney Andrew Bonderud was hired by King and her family members to investigate her father’s death, and he’s planning to file a lawsuit.

He shared with the I-TEAM minutes of regular meetings with senior JSO leaders and Armor staff going back to 2018.

“What you see is month after month, after month, after month, for years, the same chronic issues are having to be dealt with,” Bonderud said.

The issues include problems with staffing, health screenings, and medications.

In July 2022, an official expressed concern about medications not being passed out. Another official said no nurses were on duty around Christmastime in 2022 because of no-shows and people calling out sick.

There were also issues reported in November, the month Barry died. In meeting minutes, a staffer “reported that med pass is very slow, with meds and/or orders disappearing or self-duplicating.”

“That’s ridiculous,” King said. “I’m actually speechless.”

A spokesperson for Armor previously told the I-TEAM Barry’s anti-rejection medication was ordered when he was booked in November, but he was released before it arrived.

“These inmates, once they’re in your care, you you are solely responsible for them. And the fact that you’re not doing your job is appalling,” King said.

Armor disputes that Barry died because he missed doses of his anti-rejection medication. A spokesperson previously told the I-TEAM their staff delivered Barry quality, timely medical care, but Bonderud and King believe Dexter Barry was a casualty of a system that’s been broken for years.

The I-TEAM has reached out to JSO and Armor for comment, but have not yet heard back.

About the Author:

I-TEAM and general assignment reporter