Vermont inmate Robert J. Mossey was found dead in a prison closet Aug. 30. His cause of death was ruled a suicide by hanging.
"No one noticed he was missing for close to two hours. That concerns me," said Todd Jimmo, Mossey's stepfather. "I'm confused by the timing; they waited an hour and three quarters to do a head count?"
Jimmo was at the Vermont Statehouse Tuesday, where state officials discussed a defender general's report on his stepson's death. He feels some mistakes were made by the Corrections officers.
"Have to see if there's any potential criminal employee misconduct. There doesn't appear to be at this point, but until we take a deeper dive with the investigation we won't really know. So, that's the next step," Vermont Corrections Commissioner Andy Pallito said.
The defender general recommended some policy changes to the Department of Corrections, including a review of the department's policies on locking doors, not having inmates clean up the scene of a violent incident and installing windows in rooms where inmates visit.
"There were some structural recommendations by the defender general around things we can do to our facilities which we'll have to take a look at to see if they make sense with the cost and so on and so forth," Pallito said.
According to the prisoner advocacy group CURE Vermont, Mossey had a history of depression, and there was a failure of communication between his caseworker and the prison.
"R.J. Mossey was one of hundreds of prisoners in the system today who are in prison simply because they cannot get a residence on the outside in the community approved," said Gordon Bock of CURE Vermont.
Both CURE Vermont and Mossey's family hope his death will lead to changes in the prison system.
According to Pallito, the Department of Corrections will review their policies over the next 60 days.
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