CJC inmate dies after medical emergency; third inmate to die in month and a half

A St. Louis City Justice Center inmate died at an area hospital after suffering a medical emergency in his jail cell Saturday morning.
Published: Sep. 30, 2023 at 3:58 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - A St. Louis City Justice Center inmate died at an area hospital after suffering a medical emergency in his jail cell Saturday morning.

According to a spokesperson for the Director of Public Safety, Juwon Carter, 44, started suffering from a medical emergency around 2 a.m. on Saturday.

Carter’s cellmate had notified correctional officers and medical staff of the situation. Medical staff called EMS while taking life-saving measures, according to the spokesperson. Narcan was administered as a precautionary measure and Carter was taken to an area hospital.

Detention Facilities Oversight Board chair Reverend Darryl Gray says the timeline leading up the Carter’s death is important.

“When detainees die, it’s important to ask that one question: why,” Reverend Gray said. “Why did this happen or how did this happen so we can look at prevention so that we can look at precautions, so we can look at conditions. Is there something that, as a jail, is there something that could have been done?”

Commissioner of Corrections Jennifer Clemons-Abdullah contacted the courts for a release so Carter’s family could join him at the hospital. Carter was pronounced dead at the hospital just after 10:30 a.m. with his family by his side, a Public Safety spokesperson said.

“Yes, this person is a detainee, but he’s dying,” Reverend Gray said. “What is the compassionate thing to do? What’s the humane thing to do?”

Carter had been in CJC custody since May 2022 for first-degree assault and involuntary manslaughter charges. According to the Office of Public Safety, Carter had no disciplinary issues during his stay and regularly worked in the jail kitchen.

Carter is the third inmate to die in CJC custody since Aug. 20.

“I don’t think any family contemplates in any way a family member going into a secure justice center and not returning home at some point,” Reverend Gray said.

In September, State Senator Steve Roberts asked the state of Missouri to step in, calling for Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick to do a full investigation.

“The citizens of the City of St. Louis have had enough,” Senator Roberts said. “Something needs to be done, and if there’s fraud, mismanagement, hopefully getting a state agency involved will be able to discover and expose that.”

Reverend Gray says Senator Roberts asked the oversight board to give the auditor a list of concerns.

“What the board will not do is get embroiled in some political tug of war,” Reverend Gray said. “We’re not going to do that. I applaud Senator Roberts for taking the initiative to move forward. The more eyes that are on this, the better.”

Auditor Fitzpatrick sent First Alert 4 this statement:

“The issues raised by Senator Roberts about the St. Louis City Justice Center are extremely concerning and warrant intense scrutiny. We are currently in communication with his office to obtain additional information and determine the appropriate way to ensure they are investigated to the fullest extent possible.”

Carter’s death marks the 10th CJC inmate to die in two years.

“This is about 10 people who, within the last three years, have died technically while in our custody,” Reverend Gray said.

The Commissioner of Corrections is working alongside the Medical Examiner and FIU on this investigation.