Family seeks answers after photos of malnourished man raise questions about conditions at Alabama prison Sister says he can’t walk or talk; Ahmaud Arbery family lawyer for investigation

An Alabama woman who took to social media to seek help for her severely malnourished brother in a state prison said his family has not spoken to him and officials have refused to take their calls.

Kassie Vaughan shared pictures of her brother Kastellio Vaughan, who is serving a 25-year sentence for first-degree robbery at Elmore Correctional Facility. Kassie said her last visit to her brother was in July when he appeared to be in good health, but pictures sent to his sister by someone in prison with the message “Get help” reportedly show a frail Kastellio Vaughan .

One shows the man slumped down and rolling his eyes backwards.

Photo shows Kastellio Vaughan slumped at Elmore Correctional Facility in Alabama. (Photo: Facebook)

Kassie Vaughan said the photos were from September 2. She posted them to Facebook on Thursday, September 22nd. The Alabama Department of Corrections told that Kastellio is under medical observation and he has been “in contact with his family as well as informing them of his situation.”

However, Kassie said on Friday September 23 that his family has not yet spoken to him.

“There is no update regarding my brother. His family still hasn’t heard from him. We don’t know where he is or if he received any type of medical attention,” she wrote. “We’re about to get him a lawyer who will fight for his human rights!”

Kastellio, 32, was serving his sentence in 2019. A homeowner shot him dead in a 2013 home invasion. His application for parole in June was denied, and he will be paroled again in 2027. Kassie said her brother could not walk or stand and was weak. She asked her social media followers to share the photos and asked the media for help.

“The Alabama Department of Corrections understands that there are concerns about the well-being of inmate Kastellio Demarcus Vaughan,” the department told in an email.

“He is assigned to Elmore Correctional Facility but is currently housed in the Staton Medical Observation Unit. The health department of the ADOC extensively examined his situation from a clinical point of view and he was offered all the necessary treatments for his condition. He has also been in touch with his family to update them on his situation.”

However, Kassie has said the prison is not taking calls from the public or his family.

“They have stated that they do not wish to speak to the VAUGHAN FAMILY. We’re asking for medical help, not a release. I pray my trouble is ok,” she wrote.

Kassie also created an online petition for her brother’s medical discharge in 2001, which had garnered 2,500 signatures as of noon on Friday, September 23.

Photos show Kastellio Vaughan before and after another man at Elmore Correctional Facility in Alabama, who sent photos asking for help. (Photos: Facebook)

WRBL-TV said when its reporters reached out to the Alabama Department of Justice for comment early Thursday morning, an unnamed person replied, “We’re looking into that.”

Prominent civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, most recently known for representing murdered black jogger Ahmaud Arbery, said he will help the Vaughn family find answers.

“I just spoke to Kastellio Vaughan’s family. My office will be investigating his status at Elmore Prison,” Merritt wrote on Twitter Friday morning. “Alabama has some of the most inhumane prisons in the world. We are fighting to change that.”

Kassie’s post, with the photos shared over 16,000 times, came after a correctional officer at Elmore Correctional Facility was suspended for hitting an inmate who had climbed onto a roof ledge. Video circulating on social media shows Officer Ell White grabbing the man hanging from the roof before hitting him with punches.

Ministry officials said the Department of Law Enforcement Services is investigating the incident.

The US Department of Justice filed a lawsuit in 2020 against Alabama’s prison system over its conditions, claiming it is one of the least staffed and most violent in the country.

“The state of Alabama is willfully indifferent to the serious and systematic constitutional problems in Alabama’s male prisons,” the lawsuit states. Family seeks answers after photos of malnourished man raise questions about conditions at Alabama prison Sister says he can’t walk or talk; Ahmaud Arbery family lawyer for investigation

James Brien

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