Criminal Justice

Woman dies during 1,000-mile extradition for violating probation on shoplifting charges

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The September death of a woman who was extradited from Kentucky to Florida on a shoplifting probation violation is now being investigated by the Miami-Dade Police Department.

According to the Miami Herald, a private transportation company, Prisoner Transportation Services of America, shackled Denise Isaacs in the van with 10 other inmates being transported. Family members say that authorities knew she had health problems before transporting her.

Isaacs’ cause of death is unknown. According to family members, Isaacs, 54, suffered from bipolar disorder, anxiety and chronic abdominal pain. She reportedly had hallucinations during the two-day, 1,000-mile trip, and for the most part refused food and water.

Transport officers noticed that Isaacs was unresponsive when the van stopped at a Taco Bell parking lot in West Miami-Dade, according to the article. They reportedly first called a superior, and then tried to revive Isaacs. When that failed, they called 911.

The company was contracted by the sheriff’s office in Charlotte County, Florida, which runs the jail where Isaacs was supposed to be taken. A spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office told the Herald they could not comment until the investigation is finished.

Representatives for Prisoner Transportation Services of America did not return the newspaper’s phone calls seeking comment for the article.

In 2012 Isaacs was arrested for stealing $1,200 worth of merchandise from a Wal-Mart in Port Charlotte, Florida. She pled no contest, and received of sentence of 18 months probation.

Isaacs had recently moved to Kentucky, and in August the Florida Department of Corrections found that she violated her probation by not completing 200 hours of community service. The Herald reports that she also owed $607 in court fines.

Originally housed at a jail in Lexington, Kentucky, for the parole violation, Isaacs suffered hallucinations there and was not given her psychiatric medicine, according to her daughter Kallie Isaacs.

“They shouldn’t have let her make the trip in that condition, knowing she was not eating, knowing she was hallucinating,” Kallie Isaacs told the Herald. “They should have left her here [in Kentucky] and given her medical attention.”

The Prisoner Transportation Services of America website claims it is “the nation’s largest prisoner extradition company and one of the largest international transporters of detainees” and that it transports more than 100,000 prisoners a year. According to the Herald, this is not the first time there have been problems with the Tennessee-based company. In 2013, eight inmates left unattended in a Prisoner Transportation Services of America van broke through a vehicle partition and drove away, though they were ultimately recaptured. And in 2009, the company lost two inmates in a six-month time period, reports the Herald.

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