Crime & Courts

Man dies at Mat-Su correctional center as Alaska’s in-custody fatalities continue to rise

A 34-year-old man died Sunday while incarcerated at Goose Creek Correctional Center near Wasilla, the state’s largest prison.

Fifteen people have died in custody this year, already putting 2022 among the years in the past decade with the most in-custody deaths.

William Ben Hensley III had been in custody since Sept. 1 and was awaiting trial on charges of sexual abuse of a minor and online enticement of a minor, the Alaska Department of Corrections said Monday.

The department does not release the cause of death, which is determined by the State Medical Examiner, corrections officials said. Foul play was not suspected in Hensley’s death, they said.

Fifteen people died in Department of Corrections custody during 2015, a number that sparked an independent review, which found numerous problems that contributed to the deaths.

Several people have died this year after just brief periods of incarceration. Two men died last week after spending less than a month at the Anchorage Correctional Complex and two people died in August after spending less than a full day in custody.