Alaska Department of Corrections reports 17th death of the year

A sign says: Alaska Department of Corrections Lemon Creek Correctional Center
Lemon Creek Correctional Center in Juneau. According to the Sitka Police Department, Wade was transported to the Lemon Creek Correctional Center after his arrest in 2017. (Lisa Phu/KTOO)

A 51-year-old man became the 17th person to die in Alaska Department of Corrections custody this year.

Khari Wade died on Friday morning at the Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, the department announced Monday. He’d been convicted of unlawful exploitation of a minor. 

Wade’s death brings the total number of inmate deaths this year to 17, likely a 20-year high for Alaska, according to U.S. Department of Justice data.

Wade was arrested in Sitka in 2017 and had been in Corrections custody ever since. According to the department, his death was “anticipated” and no foul play is suspected. The department did not say whether his death was COVID-related.

Seven inmates have died this year within two weeks of going into custody, prompting family members and the American Civil Liberties Union to call for an investigation.

RELATED: Families, activists question why so many people in Alaska’s jails and prisons have died this year

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