Crime & Courts

Incarcerated man dies at Mat-Su hospital, bringing Alaska’s in-custody deaths this year to 17

A 51-year-old man died Friday morning at Mat-Su Regional Medical Center while in Alaska Department of Corrections custody, state officials said Monday.

Khari Wade’s death marked the 17th this year for people incarcerated in Alaska. More people have died in custody so far this year than in any year this decade.

The Corrections Department said in a statement that Wade’s death was “anticipated” and foul play was not suspected. The department does not release details about the cause of death when people die in custody.

Wade had been incarcerated since 2017 and was convicted of unlawful exploitation of a minor. He was serving his sentence at Goose Creek Correctional Center, according to a spokeswoman for the Corrections Department.

There were 15 in-custody deaths reported in 2015, which prompted an administrative review that found numerous problems within the facilities. Fourteen people died during 2020, although COVID-19 was a contributing factor in five deaths.

Advocates have called on Gov. Mike Dunleavy to order an independent review of the department in response to this year’s deaths. Several people died after spending only a short time in corrections facilities, including two people who died after less than 24 hours in state care.

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