An Alabama man whose frail image raised questions about the treatment of people incarcerated in the state’s prison system is showing signs of recovery, according to his sister and attorneys.
Pictures of Kastellio Vaughan slumping over in the Elmore Correctional Facility in Elmore, Alabama, went viral mid-to-late September. The man’s attorneys and his sister said he had lost 75 to 100 pounds in less than two months.
The incarcerated man’s sister posted new photos of him looking healthier and standing upright. However, his attorneys said before that he was using a wheelchair to get around and had difficulty eating.
“My brother is doing ok. He is not 100% better but he is doing better. His weight has came back up a little,” Kassie Vaughan said in an Oct. 25 post.
Kassie posted the alarming photos of her brother in the Elmore facility on Sept. 21. He had developed an infection from an old wound and had to have a part of his intestines removed.
His family and attorneys said the prison did not provide him with adequate care. They said prison staff sent him back to recover in prison the same day as the surgery instead of letting him stay in a real-world hospital.
Alabama Department of Corrections officials said Vaughan “received appropriate medical treatment” and had been treated 11 times in the prison and three times in an outside hospital from the time of his sister’s last visit in July through Sept. 22. Officials also claimed Vaughan “opted to be discharged Against Medical Advice on Aug. 10.”
When Kassie received the photos, Vaughan, who began serving a 20-year sentence for burglary and other crimes in 2019, was being cared for by other incarcerated men in the Elmore prison.
Since the uproar over his condition, he has been transferred to the infirmary in Staton Correctional Facility. Attorney Harry Daniels told Atlanta Black Star on Thursday that Vaughn will permanently reside at Staton.
“He has moved from the healthcare unit at Staton to General Population,” Kassie wrote on Oct. 25.
Attorney Lee Merritt told Atlanta Black Star in an earlier interview that the conditions at the Staton are no better than at Elmore. The state’s prison system is currently facing a lawsuit from the U.S. Department of Justice for being poorly staffed and for its dangerous conditions. Kastellio’s legal team has alerted the justice department of his case. Lawyers and activists are pushing for the man to get better care outside of the prison system.
“We are still asking for a free world hospital to examine him to make sure no malpractice was done,” Kassie wrote. “He is in great spirits and he seems to be coming back to himself.”