Inmate given furlough 1 day before she died of cancer

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (AP) – An inmate died of cancer a day before being temporarily released from a Virginia jail under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice over its treatment of inmates.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports 59-year-old Annie Owens, an inmate at Hampton Roads Regional Jail, died of breast cancer March 14. Owens was transferred to Maryview Hospital on March 11 and granted temporary release a day before she died.

Linda Bryant, assistant superintendent and compliance attorney for the jail, says Owens would have been in custody had a furlough not been granted. Because of the furlough, the jail was not required to report Owens’ death to police.

Hampton Roads Regional Jail has been under heightened scrutiny following the deaths of other inmates whose families claim they received inadequate care.