Pictures tell more than one story

State officials already have their hands full with multiple challenges involving Alabama’s corrections system. The US Department of Justice is working to make improvements to address overcrowding, staffing shortages and mental health care. The issues surrounding recent attempted executions of death row inmates have drawn attention, and for good reason. And now photographs suggesting a rapidly deteriorating health of an inmate have put authorities on the defensive – perhaps unfairly.

Recently, a sister of inmate Kastellio Vaughan posted photos showing her 32-year-old brother – one in which he is apparently healthy, then another in which Vaughan is extremely thin and apparently sick. His implication is that prison officials were negligent in providing medical care. The photographs went viral on social media, and the family hired a civil rights attorney and launched a GoFundMe site that raised more than $30,000 for legal fees.

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As is usually the case, that’s not the whole story. Prison officials report that the inmate has sought and received medical attention more than a dozen times since July, spent nearly 30 days in hospital and underwent surgery for complications from a wound by bullet he received while committing the 2019 crime that resulted in his 20 years in prison. phrasing.

The case certainly calls for an investigation. However, it is unwise to draw conclusions from a pair of photographs posted on social media. It’s entirely possible that what they show isn’t the result of negligence, but an appearance one would expect from a patient who has gone through illness and treatment like Vaughan.

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