Hillsborough County inmate death adds to hundreds of in-custody deaths across Florida

By The Numbers

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TAMPA Fla. (WFLA) – A Hillsborough County inmate lost consciousness while in custody on Saturday and died shortly after at Brandon Regional Hospital.

Marcus Young was arrested on Oct. 28 on charges of sexual battery, aggravated battery and false imprisonment.

He had collapsed and hit his head on Dec. 1. After being treated at Tampa General Hospital, he was discharged and taken to a jail infirmary in the days prior to his death.

Young was only 33, but he’s not the only inmate in Tampa Bay to die while in custody.

8 On Your Side reached out to individual counties in the Tampa Bay area to find out how many in-custody deaths had occurred within the last two years.

Of the local sheriff’s offices that have responded so far, Pasco County saw the highest number of inmate deaths, with 13. Meanwhile, Hernando County Sheriff’s Office reportedly had none.

“The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office had six inmate deaths in 2018 and 2019 combined. Two deaths occurred in 2018 and four occurred in 2019,” Pinellas County Deputy Travis Sibley said in an email.

Causes of death were not specified.

Across Florida, 428 inmates died in prison in 2017, according to the Florida Department of Corrections. That was a 20 percent increase over previous years.

In 2018, 440 inmates died in Florida prisons, which was a 20 percent increase from previous years.

So far, with just under a month left in 2019, 317 inmates died while in prison custody. Causes of death that are listed include everything from natural causes to suicide and even a portion of them listed as “accident.”

Distracted Driving Crashes 2015

2018-2019 Inmate deaths at Tampa Bay prisons

Hover over the bar to see the exact numbers.

Source: FDLE

At state prisons in the Tampa Bay area – including Hardee Correctional Institution, Polk Correctional Institution, Avon Park Correctional Institution and Zephyrhills Correctional Institution – 28 inmates have died in 2018 and 2019, with the most deaths occurring with inmates at Zephyrhills Correctional Institution.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, the Florida Department of Corrections is pointing to synthetic drugs as the cause of deaths for so many younger inmates.

Young’s death is still being investigated and will remain open until an autopsy has been performed.

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