Death Behind Prison Walls

Petty criminal dies after being placed in a cell with a murderer

Prison is not a pretty place. Jameson Leezer surely knew that after serving time at the Stateville Correctional Center near Joliet.

In fact, a prison document obtained by the Chicago Tribune showed that authorities at Stateville had classified the 37-year-old Leezer as "vulnerable."

They had that right, apparently, because when one of the state's most dangerous inmates was moved into Leezer's cell, the "vulnerable" Leezer ended up dead.

Richard Connor was considered among the "worst of the worst," the Tribune reported, a convicted murderer who was previously locked up in solitary confinement. After trying to kill himself, he was moved to Stateville for medical treatment and placed in a cell with another person for the first time in two years. 

Two weeks later, and only 16 days from being released, Leezer was found strangled in his cell.

Now, with the second of the Tribune's reports of murder behind prison walls, top corrections officials are re-examining "inmate transfer and screening procedures to try to prevent further tragedies."

It's too late for Leezer and his family.

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