Inmate, 22, dies in Stillwater jail cell, investigation ongoing

Minnesota Department of Corrections officials are investigating after a 22-year-old inmate was found unresponsive in his cell early Saturday and died at the scene.

Stillwater prison corrections officers found the man around 3:30 a.m. and attempted life-saving efforts. The man, whose name has not been released, died about 20 minutes later, according to a statement from corrections officials.

Although the cause of death was not immediately known, preliminary information indicated the victim may have used synthetic drugs, the statement said.

No foul play was suspected, the statement continued.

“On behalf of the Minnesota Department of Corrections, I would like to extend our condolences to the young man’s family,” Commissioner Paul Schnell said. “If this death is determined to be drug-related, we will make every effort to determine who introduced and supplied the substance, with the aim of pursuing prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.”

Minnesota, along with prison systems across the country, is experiencing challenges related to synthetic controlled substances. Often the medications are poured into paper that comes into the facilities through the mail. As a result of Saturday’s incident, Stillwater jail staff will photocopy all incoming mail, except legal mail, due to attorney-client privilege, the Department of Corrections said.

The unit where the man died remained locked down until further notice, the statement said.