Under the Dome

NC House OKs bill filed after inmate death

The N.C. House on Thursday unanimously approved a bill that would require the state Department of Public Safety to turn over all records of inmate deaths.

It would also require the State Bureau of Investigation to turn over to medical examiners any reports it does on prison inmate deaths.

The bill was introduced after Michael Kerr, 53, died last year after spending five days handcuffed in a cell, off his mental health medicine, unresponsive and lying in feces and urine in Alexander Correctional Institution.

The pathologist conducting an autopsy of Kerr didn’t have access to internal records on the incident because prison officials wouldn’t provide them.

The bill’s sponsor, House Democratic Leader Larry Hall of Durham, said the legislation was developed by officials from the Department of Corrections, Department of Justice and the state coroner.

“It allows timely information sharing regarding injuries and deaths in the Department of Corrections,” Hall said.

House Bill 281 now moves to the Senate.