Kentucky Prison Watched as an Inmate Starved Himself to Death

Last January, Kentucky State Penitentiary inmate James Embry died, following "weeks of erratic behavior" and a hunger strike. A new AP investigation shows that lax and incompetent prison officials stood by and let it happen.

Here's the AP's full story. Read it. Embry, who had three years left on his sentence and a history of mental health issues, went off his anti-anxiety meds months before his death. When he asked to get back on the meds, his request was denied. A week later, he was banging his head on the wall and voicing suicidal thoughts. A month later he was dead. The indignities continued right to the very end:

A nurse checked on Embry on Jan. 4, finding him weak and shaky, and advised him to resume eating. Embry responded that it had been too long for him to start taking food again. Nine days later, on the very day he died, an advanced practice registered nurse named Bob Wilkinson refused a request from other medical staffers to move him to the infirmary at 11:51 a.m. and said the inmate should be taken off a hunger strike watch, according to the internal investigative report. Guards found Embry unresponsive in his cell hours later, his head slumped to the side. He was pronounced dead at 5:29 p.m.

Changes are called for.

[Photo: AP]