MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WRBL) — A group of renowned civil rights attorneys are now representing an Alabama inmate after pictures showing him emaciated and barely able to sit up went viral on social media.
The disturbing images of Kastellio Vaughan sparked outrage, sorrow, and allegations of abuse and neglect inside Alabama‘s Elmore Correctional Facility. Now, Civil Rights attorneys Ben Crump, Harry Daniels, and Lee Merritt are working to secure emergency medical treatment and investigate Vaughan’s alleged mistreatment and neglect at the hands of corrections officials.
“Alabama State Prisons have a duty to provide the appropriate medical care for Mr. Vaughan while he remains in their custody,” said Merritt. “Prisoners are entitled to the same basic human decency as all other citizens in our country. We have begun working to ensure Mr. Vaughan receives the care his condition requires while investigating whether or not agents of the State of Alabama violated their duty by allowing his medical condition to spiral.”
According to his legal team, Mr. Vaughan reportedly underwent surgery in August to remove a portion of his intestines as a result of a gunshot wound. Rather than recuperating at the hospital, Vaughan’s family says he was removed from the hospital and placed in the general population at the Elmore Correctional Facility on the same day as his surgery.
Vaughan’s sister, Kassie Vaughan, shared pictures on her Facebook page, showing Vaughn gaunt and sick, unable to sit up with his eyes rolled back in his head. The images were shared Wednesday night on Facebook and received more than 11,000 shares by Thursday.
WRBL’s Elizabeth White reached out to the Alabama Department of Corrections early Thursday morning to get a comment via email and phone. After being hung up on, by ADOC and disconnected by Elmore Correction; both agencies stopped answering the phones.
Thursday night we did receive an email statement from the Department of Corrections, a name was not given for the person to attribute the statement to.
“The Alabama Department of Corrections understands there is concern about the welfare of inmate Kastello Demarcus Vaughan. He is assigned to Elmore Correctional Facility (CF) but is currently housed at Staton Medical Observation Unit. ADOC’s Office of Health Services has fully investigated his situation from a clinical perspective, and he has been offered all necessary treatment for his condition. Also, he has been in touch with his family to update them on his situation. Vaughan is serving a 25-year sentence for Burglary I out of Mobile County.”
WRBL asked for a date of when Vaughan was transferred, we have not received an answer.
His attorneys say due to inadequate facilities, abuse, and medical neglect Vaughan’s condition rapidly deteriorated. But they say corrections officials rebuffed pleas for help and only transferred Vaughan to Stranton Correctional Facility after dramatic photos of Vaughan showing his rapid weight loss and likely infected surgical scars went viral on social media prompting a national outcry. Unfortunately, attorneys argue that the conditions at Stranton are no better than they were at Elmore.
“This is horrific,” said Crump. “Let’s be clear, the State of Alabama has tried to deflect any action or responsibility for Mr. Vaughan’s condition at every turn. If it wasn’t for these pictures, the media spotlight, and the resulting uproar, we might never have known about the neglect and Mr. Vaughan would have died before the public knew anything was happening.”
Vaughan’s attorneys say they are working to make direct contact with Vaughan and connect him with unbiased medical professionals who can evaluate his condition and make recommendations for the necessary and appropriate medical care as their first priority. But they have not ruled out the possibility of civil and criminal legal action.
“What the officials at Elmore Correctional Facility and the Alabama Department of Corrections did and failed to do for Kastellio Vaughan is nothing short of torture and they think transferring him to another prison makes it all better,” said Daniels confirming. “If they’d treated a dog like this, they’d be arrested for animal cruelty. Apparently, the State of Alabama thinks Mr. Vaughan is worth less than a dog.”
Vaughan’s family says on social media they are not asking for his release, they just want to make sure he is receiving the medical attention he needs. The family says their calls and requests for information are being ignored by the Elmore County Correctional facility, and claim his sister was removed as an approved visitor after the pictures were posted.