Emily Rice Published

Inmate Dies In W.Va. Custody

Hands grabbing cell bars in an overcrowded jail
Key challenges are funding and expanding community treatment programs while balancing concerns for public safety.
Adobe Stock

West Virginia State Police are investigating the death of an inmate at South Central Regional Jail in Kanawha County.

The death follows a protest by a national activist group that has called for a federal investigation into the deaths at West Virginia’s jails.

Just days after the protesters marched into the state Capitol to hand deliver a petition to Gov. Jim Justice, family members of William Samples identified him as the latest death of an incarcerated individual in West Virginia jails.

At the protest last week, Kimberly Burks, the mother of Quantez Burks, one of the 13 inmates who died in West Virginia jails in 2022, spoke about the mourning her family has done for their son.

“The whole system needs to go into the trash and be revamped because there’s a crisis here,” Burks said. “I do not want to see another family go through what we’ve been through.”

On Friday, March 10, protesters and The Poor People’s Campaign of West Virginia delivered a petition to Gov. Jim Justice’s office, calling for a full federal investigation into local prisons by the U.S. Department of Justice.