‘Get Help’: Family Seeks Answers After Photos of Malnourished Man Raise Questions About Conditions at Alabama Prison. Sister Says He Can No Longer Walk Nor Talk.

An Alabama woman who took to social media to seek help for her severely ill brother in a state prison said his family has yet to speak to him and officials refuse to take their calls.

Kassie Vaughan shared pictures of her brother Kastellio Vaughan, who is serving a 20-year sentence for burglary and car break-ins at the Elmore Correctional Facility. Kassie said her last visitation with her brother was in July when he appeared to be in good condition, but pictures sent to his sister by someone in the jail with the message “get help” reportedly show a frail Kastellio Vaughan.

One shows the man slumped over with his eyes rolled back in his head.

Kassie Vaughan said the photos were from Sept. 2. She posted them on Facebook on Thursday, Sept. 22. The Alabama Department of Corrections told AL.com that Kastellio is on medical observation and he “has as been in touch with his family to update them on his situation.”

However, Kassie said on Friday, Sept. 23, that his family had not yet spoken to him.

“There is no update regarding my brother. His family has still not heard from him. We don’t know where he is located or if he has received any type of medical help,” she wrote. “We are in the process of getting him a lawyer to fight for his rights as a human!”

Kastellio, 32, started serving his sentence in 2019. A homeowner shot him during a home invasion in 2013. His request for parole in June was denied, and he will be eligible for parole again in 2027.

Kassie said her brother could no longer walk or stand and is weak. She asked her social media followers to share the photos and reached out to the media for help. His family told reporters that he was having stomach problems from the old injury, underwent surgery and developed an infection. He lost 75 pounds in less than a month.

“The Alabama Department of Corrections understands there is concern about the welfare of inmate Kastellio Demarcus Vaughan,” the department told AL.com in an email.

“He is assigned to Elmore Correctional Facility but is currently housed at Staton Medical Observation Unit. ADOC’s Office of Health Services has fully investigated his situation from a clinical perspective, and he has been offered all necessary treatment for his condition. Also, he has been in touch with his family to update them on his situation.”

However, Kassie has said that the prison is not accepting calls from the public or his family.

“They have stated that they do not want to talk to the VAUGHAN FAMILY. We are asking for medical help not a release. I pray my bother be ok,” she wrote.

Kassie has also created an online petition for medical release for her brother that garnered 2001 out of 2,500 signatures by noon Friday, Sept. 23.

WRBL-TV said when its reporters reached out to the Alabama Department of Corrections early Thursday morning to get a comment, a nameless person responded, “We are checking into it.”

Prominent civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, most recently known for representing slain Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery, has stepped in to help the Vaughn family get answers. Kastellio was transferred to another facility on Friday, and Merritt said his office is working to make sure he gets the right care.

“Alabama State Prisons have a duty to provide the appropriate medical care for Mr. Vaughan while he remains in their custody. Prisoners are entitled to the same basic human decency as all other citizens in our country,” Merritt said. “My office has began working to ensure Mr. Vaughan receives the care his condition requires. We are also investigating whether or not agents of the state of Alabama violated their duty of care to Mr. Vaughan by allowing his medical condition to spiral to the point reflected in the images now circulating the web.”

Kassie’s post with the photos, which had been shared over 16,000 times, came after an Elmore Correctional Facility corrections officer had been placed on leave for beating an inmate who had climbed to the edge of a roof. A video circulating on social media shows Officer Ell White pulling in the man hanging off the roof before battering him with punches.

Department officials said its Law Enforcement Services Division is investigating the incident.

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the Alabama prison system over its conditions in 2020, alleging that it is one of the most understaffed and violent in the nation.

“The State of Alabama is deliberately indifferent to the serious and systematic constitutional problems present in Alabama’s prisons for men,” the lawsuit states.

Back to top