Officials with the state Department of Public Safety said in a news release that a correctional captain found 31-year-old Justin Cauble unresponsive in his cell at Alexander Correctional Institution in Taylorsville on Saturday night.
The release says staff performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation and called emergency medical services, along with the Alexander County Sheriff's Office.
DPS spokeswoman Pam Walker says in the news release that Cauble may have died of a drug overdose. She says an internal investigation has begun and that the sheriff's office will investigate.
Cauble was serving a 10-year sentence as a habitual felon. He was convicted in Buncombe County in 2011.
Last year, the Division of Adult Correction within DPS reached a $2.5 million settlement with the estate of a man with mental illness who died of thirst after being held in solitary confinement for 35 days at Alexander Correctional Institution.
The man, 54-year-old Michael Anthony Kerr, was found unresponsive in the back of a prison van after being driven three hours from the Alexander Correctional Institution in Taylorsville to a mental hospital at Raleigh's Central Prison.
An autopsy determined Kerr died of dehydration on March 12, 2014, and was receiving no treatment for his schizophrenia.
In September, The Associated Press reported that prison officials refused to provide copies of key records, leaving the medical examiner unable to determine whether Kerr's death was natural, accidental or homicide.
Several workers at Alexander Correctional Institution were fired or resigned in connection with Kerr's death. A state Health and Human Services Department review of the prison's mental health services found all but six of 40 standards for care and treatment were met.Officials with the Department of Public Safety requested that law enforcement look into the cause of death of an inmate at Alexander Correctional Institution.
While conducting rounds, a correctional captain found Justin Cauble unresponsive in his cell around 10:30 p.m. Saturday.
Correctional staff initiated CPR, called EMS and notified the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office. Attempts to resuscitate the inmate were not successful.
Preliminary indications are that the inmate may have overdosed on a drug and an internal investigation has been launched. The Alexander County Sheriff’s Office will investigate.
Cauble, 31, was serving a 10-year sentence as a habitual felon.
He was convicted in Buncombe County in 2011.
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