Alaska in Brief

Two more people die after a short time in Alaska Corrections custody

By: - September 27, 2022 5:46 pm
This symbol is inside of the Alaska Department of Corrections office on Sept. 7, 2022, in Douglas, Alaska. (Photo by Lisa Phu/Alaska Beacon)

This symbol is inside of the Alaska Department of Corrections office on Sept. 7, 2022, in Douglas, Alaska. (Photo by Lisa Phu/Alaska Beacon)

Two people died this week after a short time in Alaska Department of Corrections custody, bringing the total number of in-custody deaths this year to 14. 

Lewey Matoomealook, 37, was pronounced dead on Sept. 25 at Alaska Regional Hospital after 13 days in Corrections custody, becoming the 13th person to die in the state’s prison system this year.

The next day, Marcus Gillion, 48, was pronounced dead on Sept. 26 also at Alaska Regional Hospital after seven days in Corrections custody. Gillion was the department’s 14th in-custody death for 2022, according to a Corrections press release.

Of the 14 deaths to occur in Corrections custody so far this year, several have taken place after only a short time in state care. Two deaths in August occurred after less than 24 hours.

Next of kin for Matoomealook and Gillion have been notified and no foul play is suspected in either death, the Corrections release said. 

The number of in-custody deaths so far this year had already surpassed the nine in-custody deaths that took place last year. Within the past 10 years, Corrections saw the most deaths in 2015; 15 people died in custody that year. 

The Troopers investigate every in-custody death and the State Medical Examiner’s Office determines the cause. Citing confidentiality, Corrections does not release medical information.

GET THE MORNING HEADLINES DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Lisa Phu
Lisa Phu

Lisa Phu covers justice, education, and culture for the Alaska Beacon. Previously, she spent eight years as an award-winning journalist, reporting for the Juneau Empire, KTOO Public Media, KSTK, and Wrangell Sentinel. She's also been Public Information Officer for the City and Borough of Juneau, lead facilitator for StoryCorps Alaska based in Utqiagvik, and a teacher in Tanzania and Bhutan. Originally from New York, Lisa is a first generation Chinese American and a mom of two young daughters. She can be contacted at [email protected]

MORE FROM AUTHOR