CLAYTON, Alabama — An investigation has been launched into Ventress Correctional Facility in Clayton, Alabama after the discovery of a deceased inmate without a heart. Brandon Clay Dotson, a 43-year-old inmate, was found dead in November 2023, the same day he was set to be considered for parole. Dotson’s family, suspecting foul play, requested a second autopsy which revealed that his heart was missing from his body.
A civil complaint has been filed against several defendants, including Alabama’s Department of Corrections and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, alleging the illegal retention of organs and tissues from deceased inmates.
According to the complaint, over 260 inmates died in Alabama custody in 2022, marking a significant increase compared to previous years. Dotson’s family believes that the rise in deaths is a result of prison overcrowding and understaffing, which has led to violent consequences within the facilities.
Lauren Faraino, the attorney representing Dotson’s family, describes Alabama’s prison system as “characterized by cruelty,” with inmates subjected to a lawless environment of violence and extortion. The revelation of unauthorized organ removal from deceased inmates further highlights the horrors experienced within the state’s correctional facilities.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham denies involvement in Dotson’s initial autopsy, stating that they only conduct autopsies with consent or authorization and that organs are not returned to the body unless specifically requested.
Dotson’s family is demanding the return of his heart for examination by an autopsy pathologist. The lawsuit alleges wrongful death and negligence on the part of prison officials in safeguarding Dotson and mishandling his remains. The family seeks justice and answers regarding their loved one’s death.
The investigation into Ventress Correctional Facility and the allegations of unauthorized organ removal will shed light on the practices within Alabama’s prison system. The outcome of this case will have implications for inmate treatment and the responsibility of prison authorities in ensuring their safety and well-being.