Luke White died in Bibb Correctional Facility on Tuesday.
About 20 months before, his family pleaded for him to be released. He was addicted to drugs, and being in prison made it easy for him to “stray off the right path,” his sister, Hannah White, wrote to the court in December 2020.
“I would give anything for him to be able to go to work release, rehab, or a halfway house,” Hannah wrote. “I’m afraid if he don’t get out of prison he will never make it out alive and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.”
Alabama Department of Corrections spokesperson Kelly Betts said that White, 38, was found unresponsive in his cell Tuesday. Staff attempted life-saving measures — first at his cell, and then at the prison’s health care unit — but White was pronounced dead, Betts said.
White, from Brent, Alabama, was sent to prison after a Lauderdale County judge revoked his probation in 2016. He had been sentenced in 2012 to three years in prison, followed by 17 years of probation, for a gas station robbery in Elgin, Alabama, that same year, court documents show.
But White failed to appear in court and pay court-ordered fees related to his probation, court documents state. The judge revoked his probation and ordered him to serve the remainder of his 20-year sentence in prison.
White’s family said he never denied his crime and acknowledged his wrongdoings. They said he had changed for the better, but they feared prison may have been working against him.
“I truly fear that prison will and is doing him a lot more harm than good,” his mother, Lynn White, wrote to the court in December 2020.
Lynn wrote that her son had been beaten and stabbed several times in prison. She begged that someone release him. “I’m at your mercy to bring him to a work release,” she wrote.
The mother of White’s son also pleaded with the court to let him go: “Our son just turned 12 years old in October. He was 6 years old the last time Luke saw him. He has never seen him play football, baseball or taken him fishing or hunting,” she wrote in December 2020.
White’s father passed away when he was 10 years old, she wrote.
“He has had plenty of time to think and remember what it was like growing up without his dad, and he doesn’t want that for his son,” she wrote. Plus, she was a single mother, and having White help support the family would mean a lot, she said.
Circuit Judge Benjamin R. Graves denied the family’s request in February 2021.
The ADOC Law Enforcement Services Division is investigating White’s death. ADOC could not provide any further information at this time.
From the start of the 2022 fiscal year to June 2022, 10 incarcerated men have died in Bibb Correctional Facility, according to ADOC’s most recent monthly report.
The Advertiser relies on tips from incarcerated people or those with close ties to the prison system to report on deaths in Alabama’s prisons.
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This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: Man dies in prison; family was afraid he’d ‘never make it out alive’