Delaware Public Media

Family sues Connections and Dept. of Correction over inmate death

Jul 10, 2019

The family of an inmate who died in custody last year has filed a lawsuit against a prison medical contractor and correction officials.


Luis Cabrera died of a perforated ulcer last year at Howard Young Correctional Institution. The suit alleges prison staff were “criminally negligent” in the death of Luis Cabrera last year, and names prison medical contractor Connections CSP and outgoing Commissioner Perry Phelps, Bureau Chief of Correctional Healthcare Services Marc Richman and prison warden Kolawole Akinbayo as defendants.

Attorney Stephen Hampton, who represents the Cabrera family, said the actions of the health care providers were “malicious.”

“I can’t understand how anybody with a medical degree or a medical license could possibly, possibly justify what happened here,” he said.

DOC declined to comment. But Gov. John Carney said inmate medical care will be a top priority for incoming DOC Commissioner Claire DeMatteis.

“Time and time again, I hear from the parents and family members of inmates who pass on complaints that they get from their family member about not receiving appropriate health care services and that’s concerning to me," he said. "It’s something we’ve got to do better at.”

Connections didn’t respond to a request for comment about the lawsuit.

Cabrera was a plaintiff in an ongoing lawsuit alleging abuse by correctional officers after the 2017 riot at Vaughn Correctional Center. He was serving three life sentences plus 44 years after being convicted on several charges, including three counts of first degree murder, conspiracy, possessing a firearm while committing a felony and burglary.