Metro Louisville

A person held at the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections died Sunday morning after being found unresponsive in the medical housing unit, according to jail officials.

The death is the fifth at the jail in less than two months.

Metro Corrections Assistant Director Steve Durham said in a statement that a corrections officer found the 66-year-old individual at 10 a.m., and “immediately started lifesaving efforts.”

Durham said the jail summoned Metro EMS, and emergency responders transported the person to University of Louisville Hospital by ambulance. Medical professionals informed Durham that the patient had died at approximately 11 a.m.

The jail is not releasing the name of the deceased while the family is being notified.

Durham said the deceased had been on the medical floor since they were booked into Metro Corrections on Jan. 5 on misdemeanor criminal trespassing and possession of drug paraphernalia. 

In his statement, Durham called the inmate “a familiar face with over 30 prior bookings.”

“The Louisville Metro Police’s Public Integrity Unit is investigating, a standard procedure, and Metro Corrections Director, Dwayne Clark, has directed Metro Corrections Professional Standards Unit to conduct a review of the case,” Durham said.

Sunday’s death is the latest in a string of jail deaths going back to Nov. 29. Metro Corrections Union President Daniel Johnson told WFPL last month that overcrowding and staffing issues contributed to earlier deaths.

Reached by phone Sunday afternoon, Louisville Metro Council President David James, a Democrat, called for the city to replace Louisville Metro Corrections Director Dwayne Clark. James says that power lies with Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.

“The large number of deaths that we’re having in Metro Corrections, the lack of leadership that we’re having at metro corrections – it’s very disturbing,” James said.

“Director Clark has not taken staffing issues seriously for multiple years, and it has led to where we are now.”

Recent deaths at the jail include, 41-year-old Gary Wetherill on Jan. 1, 48-year-old Stephanie Dunbar on Dec. 4, 34-year-old Rickitta Smith on Dec. 3, and 59-year-old Kenneth Hall on Nov. 29.

Jess Clark is WFPL's Education and Learning Reporter.