Kelley dissatisifed with inmate death protocols Coroner says policy contrary to county code
SUNBURY - Northumberland County Coroner James F. Kelley said Saturday the new protocols approved by the county prison board on investigating inmate deaths ignores the county code, which, he said, requires the coroner to investigate all inmate deaths.
Kelley said the prison board's protocols, announced Wednesday, stipulate that the coroner doesn't have to be consulted in deaths that are the result of natural causes or occurred while the inmate was under medical supervision.
Kelley said Section 1237 of the county code specifically states that it is the responsibility of the coroner to investigate all deaths involving inmates in prisons and individuals who die while in police custody. It's not the job of prison personnel, he added, to determine the cause of death.
Kelley, who said he only received a copy of the protocols Friday, believes he should have been consulted prior to the adoption of the protocols.
"It would have been nice if the commissioners had contacted me," Kelley said. "I believe the protocols, as written, are incorrect according to the county code."