URGENT ACTION

The death of Veronica Horstead last Friday, June 10th, makes three deaths in the Champaign County jail in just over 6 months. We ask that our fellow community members join us at the Champaign County board meeting, Tuesday, June 14th 6:30pm to bring this crisis of recent jail deaths to the attention of the board. (The meeting is held at Brookens Administration Center, 1776 E. Washington St. in Urbana.)

Facebook event for this action is located here.

BACKGROUND ON RECENT JAIL DEATHS:

“A recent rash of deaths has taken place in the Champaign County Jail, with three deaths in just over six months. All three were African American, in a jail where Blacks make up 60-70% of the daily population. They were each well-known in the community and will be sorely missed.

• On Friday, June 10, 2016, Veronica “Love” Horstead (48) was found unresponsive in the jail. She was the mother of a six-year-old, and a 2014 graduate of Eastern Illinois University, but for years had struggled with drug addiction. Those who knew her say she had a smile that would brighten up a room.

• On Easter Morning, March 27, 2016, Paul Clifton (59) was pronounced dead of “natural causes,” after multiple asthma attacks in the jail. He had been arrested late night at his home for a warrant of driving on a suspended license. After graduating from Urbana High School, he attended Morehouse College.

• On December 1, 2015, Toya Frazier (45) laid presumably dead in a solitary cell for nearly an hour and a half before being discovered by jail guards. She had spent the previous night screaming from the pain of heroin withdrawal.

We will address the Champaign County Board during public comment on Tuesday night, June, 14, 6:30 p.m. at Brookens Administrative Center, 1776 E. Washington, Urbana.

These deaths reflect a serious situation in our county criminal justice system. We lack adequate social services, especially for people with problems of addiction. Instead, we are locking people in jail where their life is at risk. The County Board and the Sheriff need to recognize that we have a crisis, assume responsibility for what is happening, and take appropriate measures to make sure we don’t see a repetition of these tragic and avoidable deaths.”

veronica h.

Veronica Horstead died in the jail June 10th, 2016

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