“Their negligence is the reason my daughter will never meet her daddy”
January 22, 2016
Yet again, the life of a young African-American man has been treated as disposable, this time resulting in death. The Durham County jail continually denied 29 year-old Matthew McCain proper medical treatment, including insulin for his diabetes. Matthew’s family tried to sue the jail last year, when he was incarcerated a separate time, because of the jail’s refusal to give Matthew insulin consistently. Unfortunately, they were unable to find a lawyer that would take the case.
Ashley Canady was Matthew’s girlfriend and the mother of his baby, Kinslee, who was born on December 6, 2015 while Matthew was still incarcerated. Ashley and Matthew spoke on the phone and wrote often.
Since August 2015 when he was incarcerated, Matthew was continually calling and writing Ashley and his family to tell them that he felt like he was going to die in the jail because jail staff and medical personnel weren’t providing him his insulin consistently. Ashley says,
“We asked for his release in early November and the DA said I was crazy. I asked to have him released to a medical facility.”
Last Friday, January 15th, Matthew was in an altercation with another inmate that left him badly injured. He was unable to get up from his bunk and had to have his cellmate make calls for him. He received no medical care despite being bedridden.
Early on Tuesday, January 19th, Matthew had a seizure. The other inmates in his pod continually pressed the buttons in their cells but the D.O. on duty, Officer Boria, did not answer the calls. Matthew died at approximately 5:30am. It was not until 7:40am that the coroner came. Meanwhile, all the inmates were left locked back in their cells while Matthew’s body laid on the floor for two hours.
Hours after his death, Matthew’s mother, Vicky McCain, and Ashley were both notified that Matthew had been “released” (this was an automatic — or VINE — notification of the change in his incarceration status). Vicky went to the jail to pick Matthew up since he had been released. When she got there, Matthew was nowhere to be found. Jail staff evaded her questions about Matthew’s whereabouts. Finally a staff person informed her that he had died that morning.
Jail staff have refused to let Vicky see her son’s body and she has no idea where his body is. She was told that they won’t let her see the body until after the autopsy.
Ashley received a letter Thursday (1/21) from Matthew that was postmarked on the day of his death, but was written on the 15th.
Matthew McCain should be remembered as someone who would do anything for his loved ones. He was part of the VISIONS Minority Male Leadership Initiative at Durham Tech. He regularly helped with the resident council food drives in the community of McDougald Terrace. He was a loving son, boyfriend, and father.
This horrifying situation raises numerous questions, but we in Inside-Outside Alliance start with this simple one, and implore you to ask the same: Where is Matthew McCain’s body? And we, Inside-Outside Alliance, for now make the simple demand that his mother be told where his body is, and be able to see her child’s body immediately.
We also demand that the autopsy report be made public, and that Matthew’s family be able to view all relevant video footage of Matthew’s last days should they so desire.
To jail staff, Ashley says this:
“I just want them to know their negligence is the reason my daughter will never meet her daddy. I will never hear his voice or see him.”
Matthew’s loved ones ask that everyone share his story widely and demand justice for his death.
Rest in Power Matthew McCain.
And may the criminals in charge of the Durham County Office of the Sheriff, Sheriff Mike Andrews, Detention Director Natalie Perkins, Detention Officer Boria, and all those on staff at the jail have no peace. Everyone in this oppressive system — the jail administration, the corporations like the medical provider, Correct Care Solutions, who profit off the jail, the media and politicians who cover up for the jail — is complicit in the killing of Matthew McCain by collective neglect.
Matthew’s fellow inmates bravely spoke out, risking retribution, to share the story of his death. They foiled the jail’s attempt to cover this up. We owe it to them, to Matthew’s loved ones, and to the memory of Matthew, to amplify his story. Please share this widely.
Below, find the previously issued statement by Inside-Outside Alliance on Matthew McCain’s death as well as some photos of Matthew, Kinslee, and Ashley.
See below for further information:
Published January 21, 2016
Incident reported by Inside-Outside Alliance Member incarcerated in Durham County jail on January 19, 2016
Inmate Dies in Durham County Jail After Medical Neglect by Detention Staff
Sheriff’s Department Remains Silent About Death
Durham, NC – A man incarcerated in the Durham County Detention Facility died in his cell on Tuesday, January 19 at approximately 5:30 am. The sheriff’s office has not made this death known to the public. According to those who were incarcerated with the man, his name is Matthew McCain. Eyewitnesses have reported that other inmates in Pod 3D were aware of McCain’s physical distress and pressed the emergency buttons in their cells several times, but their calls for help were ignored by Officer Boria, the detention officer on duty in Pod 3D that morning. McCain was not given medical attention and died as a result. His body remained in the cell for two hours until the coroner arrived at approximately 7:40 am.
Inmates have reported that Officer Boria has ignored emergency call buttons in the past. While Boria bears responsibility in McCain’s death, this tragedy occurred within a widespread system of abuse in the Durham County Jail. Inside-Outside Alliance has heard many reports over the past few years which point to rampant medical neglect inside the jail, with prisoners routinely being denied care, including basic medical procedures and prescription medications. Inside-Outside Alliance has been forced, on several occasions, to publicly pressure Sheriff Andrews and his staff so that inmates can receive basic medical procedures. Detainees pay $20 for every medical visit, which is four times as much as a medical visit in a state prison. Medical care inside the jail is provided by Correct Care Solutions, a private healthcare corporation that is currently being sued in connection with the death of a Forsyth County inmate.
As of the writing of this release, Sheriff Andrews has not released any information to the public about this criminally negligent homicide committed by his staff. In recent months, public pressure has been mounting for more transparency at the jail and for a community-based investigation into human rights abuses occurring there. Sheriff Andrews has insisted that inmates’ health and safety in detention is his highest priority. Yet not only has he kept Matthew McCain’s death a secret, but he has deliberately misled the public, listing McCain as “out of custody” due to “general release” on the jail’s website. Even as McCain’s body was lying dead on the floor of the Durham County jail, Sheriff Andrews and his staff appear to have been plotting to make it look as though he had simply been released. This is unacceptable and must be challenged by the public and the press.
Finally, it is important to note that this act of violence has taken place amid a nationwide onslaught of police murders and jail deaths in a country marked by a deep history of racist state violence. The same structure that killed Sandra Bland and LaQuan McDonald has taken yet another life in the Durham County Jail, and just as lynch mobs used to leave their victims’ bodies exposed as a mechanism of terror, Durham detention staff left another body where it lay for over two hours.