Ricardo Williamson was 62-years-old with at least three chronic medical conditions when he went to state prison in January to serve a one-year sentence for shoplifting.
He died there last Sunday, in the middle of a pandemic, records show.
It’s unclear what killed Williamson, who had a history of drug addiction and a lengthy record of more than 40 convictions for shoplifting and other minor crimes. State corrections officials declined to confirm his cause of death, citing medical privacy rules.
“I don’t know for sure that he died from COVID-19,” said Judith Fallon, a deputy public defender in Passaic County, whose office represented Williamson.
“But I do know for sure that he shouldn’t have died in prison.”
An NJ Advance Media investigation published earlier this week found New Jersey’s prison system was ill-prepared to deal with the coronavirus crisis, taking weeks to implement basic prevention methods like giving inmates masks and hand sanitizer… NJ.com