published Saturday, December 22nd, 2012

Inmate dies at Hays State Prison

 Hays State Prison is located just east of U.S. Highway 27, in Trion Ga.
Hays State Prison is located just east of U.S. Highway 27, in Trion Ga.
Photo by Tim Barber /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

A former Georgia mother is trying to find answers for how her 25-year-old son died this week in a cell at Hays State Prison, but she said she is getting nowhere.

Shawn Singleton said she was told Wednesday that her son, Derrick Stubbs, was found dead while he was housed in protective custody at the maximum security prison in Trion, Ga. She said he was placed there after getting into a fight. But she hasn't been able to find out what happened to him.

"I'm at a point I don't know what's going on and what to do," said Singleton, who now lives in Chicago.

Georgia Department of Corrections officials confirmed Stubbs died Wednesday, and they said the department and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are investigating his death. But department spokeswoman Gwendolyn Hogan cited an open investigation and would not give further details.

Stubbs had been housed at Hays for more than a year, his mother said, after he was convicted on two armed robbery charges. A McDuffie County newspaper reported three years ago that Stubbs was sentenced to 60 years in prison for robbing a gas station and food store with a 19-year-old in July 2008.

Last year another inmate was killed at Hays, which was named the corrections department's facility of the year in July. That inmate was stabbed to death by several inmates in an early morning attack in August 2011. In February, two guards had to be hospitalized after they were assaulted by multiple inmates, records show.

Also in February, the corrections department agreed to pay a $93,000 settlement in a lawsuit against Hays. The lawsuit alleged four handcuffed inmates were beaten, kicked and knocked out after a brawl with a dozen prison guards.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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