Goose Creek inmate dies, tying most deaths in a decade in Department of Corrections custody in calendar year

Goose Creek inmate dies, tying record for most deaths in Department of Corrections custody in calendar year
Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 5:38 PM AKDT
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POINT MACKENZIE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Alaska Department of Corrections announced that a 15th incarcerated Alaskan has died in the department’s custody in 2022, tying the highest number of deaths in the past decade, which was set in 2015.

William Hensley III, 34, was pronounced dead at Goose Creek Correctional Center at 3:19 a.m. on Sunday.

“Hensley had been in DOC custody since 09/01/2022,” the release said. “He was an unsentenced inmate, charged with Online Enticement of a Minor under 16 and Sexual Abuse of a Minor 2.”

Department Public Information Officer Betsy Holley has not clarified whether or not the department has updated any policies in the wake of the number of deaths.

“DOC remands nearly 30,000 individuals annually,” Holley wrote. “Unfortunately, the inmate population is an exceptionally ill and complex population. A high percent enter DOC facilities with serious preexisting medical, mental health and substance use related issues. DOC takes every death seriously and conducts an internal investigation to ensure policies and best practices are followed.”

After the 13th and 14th deaths of incarcerated Alaskans in department custody were announced last week, director of the Alaska Prison Project Megan Edge said an investigation was needed to determine why people in custody were dying at such an alarming rate.

Each of the last three deaths of incarcerated Alaskans has occurred prior to their sentencing hearings. The Alaska Prison Project is a product of the ACLU of Alaska and is tasked with leading the organization dedicated to ensuring that state-run prisons are in compliance with federal laws requiring that inmates be treated humanely.

This article has been corrected to reflect that the Alaska Prison Project is not a product of the ACLU National organization, but the ACLU of Alaska, and corrected to reflect that 15 is not a record-setting number, but ties the highest total in a decade. This article has also been updated with additional information.