Man Dies in DOC Custody; 7th Inmate Death This Year


Alaska Beacon

An Anchorage inmate died after two days in custody, the Alaska Department of Corrections reported Thursday. It is the seventh inmate death the department has reported this year.

Tristan Andrews was housed at the Anchorage Correctional Complex when he was pronounced dead on August 29. He was 29 years old.

The cause of death has not yet been determined by the State Medical Examiner Office. Officials do not suspect foul play.

The news comes as the American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska is asking for an independent review of deaths in Alaska Department of Corrections custody and the department seeks a regulation change to improve its ability to hire enough staff.

Betsy Holley, the Department of Corrections spokesperson, said an internal review is underway.

“We treat every death with the same amount of sensitivity,” she said. “Any death of an inmate affects our staff.”

She added in an email that the Department of Corrections deals with what can be a medically fragile population that enters the system with medical, mental health and substance use related issues.

“Our inmate population is at greater risk for developing medical issues simply by virtue of lifestyle and socioeconomic status. They come to us with multiple physical ailments further complicated by years of substance abuse and/or untreated mental illness. Unfortunately, DOC cannot reverse years of damage, and most often we cannot stop the progression,” she wrote. She added that the department does everything it can to assess and meet the medical needs of inmates.

Last year, 18 inmates died in Alaska, the most in at least a decade. The state reported that seven of those deaths were from suicide and 11 from natural causes.


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At a Glance

(updated 9-12-2023)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 8:57 a.m. Tuesday, September 12.

New cases as of Tuesday: 278

Total cases (cumulative) statewide – 301,513

Total (cumulative) deaths – 1,485

Case Rate per 100,000 – 38.14

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

COVID in Sitka

The Sitka community level is now "Low.'' Case statistics are as of Tuesday.

Case Rate/100,000 – 152.50

Cases in last 7 days – 13

Cumulative Sitka cases – 3,575

Deceased (cumulative) – 10

The local case data are from Alaska DHSS.






September 2003

After the season-opening Ketchikan High School swim meet last week, Sitka High swimmer Matt Way is ranked first in the state in the100-meter breaststroke, while Carrington Gorman is ranked second in the 50-meter freestyle.



September 1973

From Around Town: Sitka Historical Society met Sunday at the Centennial Building with the people who had hosted the Historical Room during tour ship visits here. The ladies of the society served a nice Russian Tea from their samovar, and passed around Russian tea cakes.