Massachusetts has strict protocols for dealing with prison deaths, such as ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez’s apparent suicide. State regulations spell out what must be done when an inmate is discovered dead or dying. Here’s what’s on the state Department of Correction’s official checklist:
— When an inmate appears to be dead, staff are required to begin life-saving measures immediately, except when the wounds are as obviously fatal, such as by decapitation or incineration, or when medical staff immediately declare the inmate dead.
— After the inmate is declared dead, corrections staff are required to monitor the body and “preserve the scene” until the medical examiner arrives.
— Upon notification of the death, the corrections commissioner or deputy commissioner must decide whether to deploy a “Medical Investigative Team” for a special investigation.
— The body isn’t to be moved until its removal is approved by the medical examiner, the district attorney and the superintendent.
— After the body is removed, the superintendent must request written documentation verifying the death, typically the medical examiner.
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