Prison staff immediately responded and provided life-saving measures until facility medical personnel arrived. A physician from Einstein Medical Center Montgomery pronounced Alston dead at 6:06 a.m. via telephone.
As is the case with all inmate deaths, the institution notified the Pennsylvania State Police, which will conduct an investigation. The official cause of death will be determined by the Montgomery County coroner. This is the fifth inmate suicide at this prison in three months.
“Obviously when we have a suicide cluster, it is a major concern,” Corrections Secretary John Wetzel said. “Although this one likely has a different root cause, it is concerning none the less. “To that end, we have engaged Lindsay Hayes, a national expert on jail suicide prevention, to quickly lead a full review of all policy, procedures and practices, as well as a full review of each case. We are committed to make whatever adjustments necessary.”
Lindsay Hayes, who is based out of Mansfield, Massachusetts, is a national expert who serves as director of the National Center on Institutions and Alternatives’ Jail Suicide Prevention and Liability Reduction Program.
Alston had been at SCI Graterford since his reception into the Department of Corrections in 1984. He was serving a life sentence for first degree murder out of Bucks County.
The inmate’s next-of-kin has been notified.
MEDIA CONTACT: Wendy Shaylor, GRA PIO, 610-489-4151
Amy Worden, DOC Press Secretary, 717-728-4026
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