Trigger Warning! The images in this story may be disturbing to some. Please be advised.
A coalition of Alabama pastors have joined the family of Kastellio Vaughan in calling the government to investigate the inhumane conditions of Alabama state prisons, according to the Alabama Political Reporter. Vaughan’s case went viral after his family shared images of his sick, ghastly appearance after being admitted for surgery.
“Mr. Vaughan’s health situation is deplorable. He is in dire need of comprehensive health care that our state’s corrections system cannot provide,” said Daniel Schwartz, executive director of Faith in Action Alabama. “Due to systemic failures, the lives of incarcerated individuals are put at great risk daily.”
Vaughan, 32, is serving a 20-year sentence at the Elmore Correctional Center for burglary and car break-in charges from 2019. Just a day after the Alabama state prison inmates began their strike in September, Vaughan’s medical records were released by the Alabama Department of Corrections in response to the graphic images of his condition. ADOC said in a press release that he was admitted to Jackson Hospital in Montgomery in August for bowel obstruction surgery as a result of a gunshot wound. After being discharged five days later, he was readmitted in September for “post-surgical complications.” They allege Vaughan “refused all medication” and follow up treatments, however, his family believes his health was being neglected.
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Read more from ABC 7 News:
When twins Kassie and Kascie Vaughan visited their brother at the Staton Correctional Facility in Elmore, Alabama, on Sunday, they said he was unable to walk, had lost a significant amount of weight and was almost unrecognizable.
Kassie Vaughan told ABC News she received harrowing photos of her older brother earlier this month along with a message to get him help. Photos depicting Kastellio Vaughan slumped over, emaciated, and with a large, undressed wound extending down his abdominal area were allegedly sent by an unidentified inmate at Elmore Correctional Center.
“He said, ‘Your brother’s not gonna make it until Monday. Please get him help.’...[He said] they brought him back to general population at the prison, they didn’t cover up his wounds, and the staples was bursting out of his abdomen,” Kassie Vaughan told ABC News.
Vaughan’s siblings told reporters they didn’t even know their brother had gone into surgery until after receiving the graphic images of him post-op. The next time they saw him, he was in a wheelchair, unable to walk, appearing severely malnourished and wearing “absorbent briefs.”
“It shouldn’t have been prisoners sending emergency text messages and photographs to his family, but it should have been the medical staff who are responsible for the health and safety of everyone who is under their care,” said civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, via ABC 7. “He is an inmate at that prison and the law requires that they honor their duty to provide for their prisoners’ wellbeing.”
Vaughan’s legal team, including Merritt, Harry Daniels and Benjamin Crump, confirmed he had lost 75 pounds in less than a month. Per The Root’s previous report, proper feeding had been a driving force behind the state-wide prison strike. Inmates shared images of what they are being fed which they described as barely edible. Though, once the strike commenced, the inmates claim they were barely being fed at all.
“It doesn’t matter what Kastellio did. Why he was in [prison] doesn’t matter. As society as a whole, as human beings, we have a duty to one another. It doesn’t matter what that person is imprisoned for,” Daniels told ABC News. “We need this man to get well. We need him to get help. That’s not asking for a whole lot.”