JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The I-TEAM is learning new details about a woman who died at the Duval County Jail Monday. Rebecca “Becky” Faircloth was 62 years old. On Thursday, she was sentenced to 10 years in prison for attempted murder, having a gun as a convicted felon and tampering with evidence.
According to JSO, it appears she might have had some sort of medical episode. JSO says it’s unclear why she died and they’re waiting on autopsy results. But her husband tells News4JAX he thinks inadequate health care at the jail during her more than two-year stay was a contributing factor.
Over the past two years, at least seven people have died at the Duval County Jail. The latest death was Faircloth, when she collapsed at breakfast in what JSO said might have also been a medical episode. Faircloth’s husband tells the I-TEAM she hadn’t been sick recently but she does have multiple health problems and a family history of aneurysms.
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, studies show people who have been incarcerated have higher rates of sickness and death than the general population.
Health care at the Duval County Jail has been under scrutiny since the death of Dexter Barry, a 54-year-old who didn’t receive his anti-rejection medication for his heart transplant in the jail and died a few days after being released.
After the fallout, JSO canceled its $98 million health care contract with provider Armor Health. NaphCare will start providing care next month.
In June, before Faircloth’s death at the jail, she and her husband sent an email to the prosecutor in her case, detailing multiple disabilities and asking for leniency. She wrote that she suffered from Lupus; wasn’t getting a CPAP machine for her sleep apnea; and had an infection on her arm that needed to be rebandaged daily, but the jail said they would only do that two or three times a week.
Foul play is not suspected in Faircloth’s death, JSO says.
To gain insight into the state of medical care for inmates, the News4JAX I-TEAM reached out to attorney Dante Trevisani of the Florida Justice Institute. Trevisani said they are a nonprofit that does litigation and advocacy and civil rights litigation, mostly on behalf of people in prison.
He said they get a lot of complaints about medical care, mental health care, abuse and violence.
When it comes to health care, he said, lack of staffing is a major problem.
“A lot of the prisons don’t have the adequate medical staff to adequately process everybody,” Trevisani said. “And just make sure that appointments can happen on time and medications can happen in a timely fashion.”
JSO is hiring corrections officers, offering a $10,000 hiring incentive and a starting salary of about $45,000. On Tuesday, Sheriff T.K. Waters said fewer corrections officers are leaving each month.
“Our applications are way up, way up. So we’re doing good,” Waters said.
To improve inmate health care in jails, Trevisani recommends arresting and incarcerating fewer people, bail reform, improving the quality of health care providers, having clear standards in place, and independent oversight.