An inmate who was transferred to one of the most secure federal prison facilities in the U.S. was stabbed to death within hours of arriving, raising fresh questions about the government’s ability to keep prisoners safe amid severe understaffing and a myriad of crises plaguing the federal prison system.
Stephen Dwayne Cannada was killed in an altercation with a fellow inmate the same day he arrived at USP Terre Haute, a high-security prison in Indiana, two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press. The 47-year-old was stabbed repeatedly by a fellow inmate, according to the people, who could not discuss the investigation publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
It is the latest serious security issue for the federal Bureau of Prisons, which has long been plagued by violence, misconduct and staffing shortages. His death comes a little more than a week after another inmate at the same prison, Michael Rudkin, was beaten to death in an altercation with a fellow prisoner.
Cannada was found unresponsive inside the Terre Haute prison around 9:30 p.m. Friday, the Bureau of Prisons said. USP Terre Haute is also home to the federal death row, where 13 executions were carried out in the waning months of the Trump presidency. Neither Cannada nor Rudkin was a death-row inmate.
Cannada was serving a more than eight-year prison sentence for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. He was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.
The Bureau of Prisons said staff responded immediately to the emergency call, “initiated life-saving measures” and called for emergency medical crews. Cannada was pronounced dead inside the prison by emergency medical personnel, the agency said.
Federal prisons officials said they also notified the FBI, a standard protocol when inmates are killed in federal custody.
The Terre Haute prison houses more than 1,100 male inmates.