Mother Files Lawsuit Against Connecticut Department of Correction Over Son’s Death in Prison

Bridgeport, Connecticut – Melisia Taylor commemorated the three-year anniversary of her son’s death on Thursday with a lawsuit against the Department of Correction, seeking accountability for the tragedy. Jamari Taylor, an inmate at MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution, died in February 2021 due to a lack of oxygen to his brain. While the state medical examiner classified his death as natural causes, the family does not accept that explanation.

The lawsuit alleges that the Department of Correction failed to conduct a mandatory health assessment when Jamari entered prison. The young man, who was awaiting trial on gun-related charges, had been placed in a cell with a cellmate. According to the lawsuit, the cellmate had to activate the emergency alarm three times before correction officers responded. Video evidence obtained in 2022 shows the officers appearing to casually react to the distressing situation.

The family’s attorney, Alex Taubes, expressed outrage at the officers’ response, noting that they “literally [dragged] their feet” while a 19-year-old man was dying. Moreover, the lawsuit claims that one of the correction officers expressed doubt about the need for assistance during the incident. Both the Department of Correction and the attorney general’s office declined to comment on the matter.

Melisia Taylor described her son as a good person who had unfortunately fallen in with the wrong crowd. Jamari had aspirations of turning his life around and had a job interview scheduled for the same week he was supposed to be released on bond. Devastated by his untimely death, Melisia is determined to hold the Department of Correction accountable and advocates for changes within the institution to prevent similar incidents. She believes that correction officers should improve their monitoring of inmates and response to emergencies.

In addition to pursuing justice for Jamari, the family’s attorney argues for changes in the judicial system. Alex Taubes believes that judges should reevaluate the use of bail and proposes bail reform to prevent instances where individuals are held in prison while awaiting trial. Representatives from the Democratic Party in Connecticut have supported the idea of bail reform in the past and may reintroduce a bill this year.

Melisia Taylor and her attorney both hope that the tragic loss of Jamari’s life will result in meaningful changes and improvements in the Department of Correction and the criminal justice system as a whole. They believe that by taking action, they can raise awareness and prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.