Three Years After Inmate Death, No Change at Wildwood

It’s been close to three years since Brandon Sparks died at Wildwood, just two weeks away from finishing his 21-month sentence. His mother Tonia Sparks, and her lawyer, Eric Derleth, says there’s still been no change in a system which was “stunning” negligent.


Sparks: “People take better care of their dogs than they did my son. There have to be changes, there have to be things that are mandated,  and there are protocols. There are mandates and guidelines, but how do you make people follow the rules? How do you make them do their jobs?”


Derleth has recently written a series of articles outlining the case, which he remains passionate about. He says the prison disobeyed a standing court order, which required a medical provider to be on site five days a week, and refused to check Brandon’s vitals, despite 13 requests for medical care in five days. You can download Derleth’s account of the story here.


Sparks: “It may have started out as a cold or a flu or something, we don’t know for sure, but what happened in the end was he had blood poisoning and he died, he cardiac arrested. All four lobes of his lungs were full. He had severe pneumonia.”


Brandon had been serving time for drug charges since just after the birth of his daughter, Savannah. Sparks said her granddaughter is now four, but has no memories of her father apart from what she’s told.


Sparks: “No one was held accountable. People in jobs that are in charge of taking care of other people, like prison systems, they should be held accountable for neglect. They were not held accountable. That needs to change. Because when you make someone accountable for their actions and for their job, they have a tendency to do it better.”


Sparks said Brandon made mistakes, which cost him the ability to seek his own medical care. She hopes his story can bring about changes for others in prisons and mental institutions.

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