BARBOURSVILLE — A man charged with burglary Tuesday evening died awaiting an appearance with a magistrate in the booking area, the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety confirmed Wednesday.
Derek Kevin Bennett, 33, was booked at Western Regional Jail at 6:10 p.m. Tuesday. The Huntington Police Department had arrested him in the 1500 block of Charleston Avenue during a warrant execution. He was charged with burglary and fleeing arrest.
Bennett’s death is the third death reported at the Barboursville facility in eight months. Lawrence Messina, director of communications for the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, has previously declined commenting further on the deaths, citing medical and inmate privacy rights and ongoing investigations.
Western Regional Jail generally houses inmates charged in Cabell, Lincoln, Wayne, Mason and Putnam counties. The facility opened in 2003 with a maximum capacity of 520 inmates.
The jail reported at least eight overdoses in a three-week span from April to May. According to Messina, from July 29, 2016, to Feb. 23, 2017, eight individuals were administered the overdose-reversing drug naloxone within 48 hours of booking into the facility.
In May, 224 out of 4,769 inmates in the 10 regional jails across the state were in a 10-day detox program because of their conditions when admitted to the jail.
In the last two weeks, DMAPS Secretary Jeff Sandy has announced two moves made to address concerns over contraband and oversight among the correctional facilities.
DMAPS announced in July the creation of the Correctional Substance Abuse Control program. With director Jack Luikart at the reigns, the CSAC crackdown will focus on the smuggling of contraband narcotics into facilities and will help train correctional officers and staff on drug prevention and investigation.
DMAPS announced the combining of its correctional facility internal investigation units to better oversee misconduct complaints and contraband smuggling within its three branches, the Division of Corrections, Division of Juvenile Services and Regional Jail and Correctional Facilities Authority.
William K. Marshall III has been appointed to lead the new Correctional Investigations Division as its director.
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