CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — An inmate at the Adult Correctional Institutions (ACI) who was recently diagnosed with COVID-19 has died, according to R.I. Department of Corrections (RI DOC) spokesperson J.R. Ventura.
Ventura said the 66-year-old inmate, who was not identified, had underlying conditions that “likely contributed to his death.”
The inmate had been serving life without parole in maximum security since 1988, which Ventura said was when he was found guilty of sexually assaulting a 73-year-old double amputee woman who later died.
Ventura said the inmate’s family has been notified.
“It is clear that we must continue our efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” RI DOC Director Patricia Coyne-Fague said in a statement. “Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our medical and security staff, we have not experienced the heartbreaking losses that other DOCs across the country have. However, this is a strong reminder as to why we must continue to wear our masks, get vaccinated, and follow our health safety protocols to keep everyone as safe as possible.”
The death comes one month after RI DOC reported 600 COVID-19 cases — 488 prisoners and 112 staff members — at the ACI. It also comes one week after a correctional officer at the ACI died due to COVID-19 complications.
Ventura said RI DOC’s medical staff is continuing to heavily monitor the population inside the facilities” and the ACI is experiencing a decline in positive cases.
On Friday, members of the Direct Action for Rights and Equality (DARE) held a car rally calling for safer living conditions at the ACI.
In a statement, DARE wrote, “there really are no words. This person’s life was taken by the state. This is a murder. His blood is on their hands: [Gina] Raimondo, Coyne-Fague, [Nicole] Alexander-Scott … Until there is justice for our people, there will be no justice, no peace.”