The North Carolina Department of Public Safety has agreed on a $2.5 million settlement with the family of Michael Anthony Kerr, a mentally ill inmate who died last year of dehydration while in state custody. Insurance will cover $1.5 million of the cost, a DPS spokesperson said today in a press release.
We broke the story of Kerr one month after his death. He died of dehydration while being transferred from Alexander Correctional Institution in Taylorsville to Central Prison in Raleigh. Kerr, who suffered from schizoaffective disorder, was held in solitary confinement for roughly a month beforehand, without being treated.
A federal investigation into Kerr’s death is ongoing. Since he died, at least two dozen DPS workers have either resigned or been disciplined; at least nine were fired, and a new administrator at Alexander Correctional was brought in.
DPS’ correction division reports having trained 1,800 staff members in crisis intervention and intends to have all correctional staff trained eventually. DPS also reports having requested additional funding to improve mental health services for inmates.