Rally held at ACI demands answers about inmate death

West Bay

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — A car rally was held at the ACI on Sunday afternoon demanding answers surrounding the death of inmate Jose Franco.

The 46-year-old was found dead in his cell in the medium security facility in February, five weeks before he was set to be released.

His mother Marie Franco told 12 News, prison officials did not immediately call her when he died.

“My son’s friend calls me and tells me my son is dead. My heart went down to my feet real fast and I got very dizzy from hearing it. I had to sit down. I was standing up when I got the message. It was a bad feeling for a mother, to feel the way I felt that day,” she said.

Franco said they had a close relationship, describing her son as someone who could make anyone happy.

According to the Dept. of Corrections, Jose Franco was found unresponsive in his single cell on February 9. No foul play is suspected, but Marie and her attorney want more information.

“Very stressful,” she said.

“Not just stressful but there is a level of I’m sure unattended but cruelty. A mother is grieving. The ACI has not been able to give us any information other than to tell us it’s under investigation. Marie is a grieving mother, it is unacceptable a mother has to grieve this way without this information,” Attorney David Strachmen said.

Marie said her son was arrested for failing to notify police of an address change while being a listed sex offender.

The ACI sent a statement to 12 News in response to Sunday’s rally saying, “many of the allegations made by the protesters are simply misinformed…The matter is still under active investigation by the RI State Police, and we have an obligation to not compromise the investigatory process.”

Marie’s attorney said they are in the process of filing a petition for probate and wants a meeting with ACI officials. They expect the autopsy results in the next month or two.

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