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Photos: Legislative briefing on inmate deaths in Alaska

Vernesia Gordon, girlfriend of Davon Mosley and mother of his children, testifies as Khanesia Allen, Mosley's mother, holds up photos of her son's bruising and scarring at a state Senate hearing about the recent deaths at correctional facilities. Mosley died in the Anchorage Correctional Complex. Alaska Senator Hollis French and other members of the senate held a legislative briefing on inmate fatalities in Alaska's correctional facilities on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at the Legislative Information Office in downtown Anchorage.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Cea Anderson, mother of Kirsten Simon, who died in the Anchorage Correctional Complex, holds up a photo of her daughter and granddaughter as she testifies at a state Senate hearing about the recent deaths at correctional facilities. Alaska Senator Hollis French and other state senators held a legislative briefing on inmate fatalities in Alaska's correctional facilities on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at the Legislative Information Office in downtown Anchorage.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Joe Schmidt, Alaska Commissioner of Corrections, testifies at a senate hearing about the recent deaths at correctional facilities. Alaska Senator Hollis French and other members of the state Senate held a legislative briefing on inmate fatalities in Alaska's correctional facilities on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at the Legislative Information Office in downtown Anchorage.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Khanesia Allen, mother of Davon Mosley who died in the Anchorage Jail, holds up photos of her sons bruising and scaring at a senate hearing about the recent deaths at correctional facilities. Looking at the photo is Bryan Brandenburg, the director of institutions for the Alaska Department of Corrections , Joe Schmidt, corrections commissioner and Laura Brooks, inmate health care administrator fro the State of Alaska. Alaska Senator Hollis French and other members of the senate held a legislative briefing on inmate fatalities in Alaska's correctional facilities on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at the Legislative Information Office in downtown Anchorage, AK.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch N
Cea Anderson, mother of Kirsten Simon who died in the Anchorage Correctional Complex, testifies at a state Senate hearing about the recent deaths at correctional facilities. Alaska Senator Hollis French and other state senators held a legislative briefing on inmate fatalities in Alaska's correctional facilities on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at the Legislative Information Office in downtown Anchorage.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Brad Wilson, of the Alaska Correctional Officers Association, testifies at a state Senate hearing about the recent deaths at correctional facilities. Alaska Senator Hollis French and other state senators held a legislative briefing on inmate fatalities in Alaska's correctional facilities on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at the Legislative Information Office in downtown Anchorage.
Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News
Michelle Theriault Boots and Bob Hallinen

Lawmakers left a packed public hearing addressing a string of recent inmate deaths in Alaska jails and prisons Tuesday calling for legislation to establish a third-party independent review of such deaths. 

“I think (such legislation) is very realistic,” said Sen. Hollis French, D-Anchorage. “Other states do it, first of all. I heard the (correctional officers union) asking for it. And I didn’t really hear the commissioner say that’s a bad idea.”

Tuesday’s hearing brought top Department of Corrections officials together to answer for the recent deaths of five young inmates at Alaska correctional institutions between April and June.

The hearing was held in a room tucked in the temporary Downtown Legislative Office next to the Gaslight Lounge. Spectators -- including mental health advocates, correctional officers, news crews,  families of dead inmates, and attorneys -- spilled out into the hallway.

The turnout was much  larger than what's typical for a legislative hearing, said French. The lawmaker said he convened the hearing after getting calls from concerned constituents.

READ MORE: After rash of Alaska inmate deaths, hearing prompts call for independent reviews