Thomson inmate found unresponsive, pronounced dead

THOMSON – Federal Bureau of Prisons officials say an inmate at Thomson prison has died, the fourth such death this year at the high-security lockup.

At least three of the inmates died after fights with other inmates.

Patrick Bacon, 36, was found unresponsive in his cell around midnight Friday. Staff began life-saving measures and called emergency medical workers, but Bacon was pronounced dead at the hospital where he was taken, BOP officials said. No other circumstances surrounding his death were released.

Bacon was serving a 10-year sentence levied in California for assault with a dangerous weapon with intent to do bodily harm, aiding and abetting and assault resulting in serious bodily injury.

According to records from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Bacon was imprisoned in Victorville Federal Prison in California when he stabbed another inmate with a metal shank, fracturing the man’s sinus cavity and causing stab wounds to his head and chest. Bacon was appealing the conviction because he had not been allowed to employ an insanity defense.

He had been in custody at Thomson since October 14.

This is the fourth inmate death this year at Thomson prison and the third in the past month. One inmate was found unresponsive the morning of March 2 and died 3 days later of severe head injuries; one died Nov. 27 after a fight with with another inmate, and the third happened Dec. 3 when another inmate was found unresponsive; he, too, died of injuries suffered in a fight, sources told The Associated Press.

The federal prison system in general, and Thomson in particular, has been plagued by understaffing and hiring issues. Thomson prison, which has 200 openings for correctional officers alone, has held several job fairs, and announced Nov. 24 that it would offer a 25% recruitment and relocation incentive.

As of Saturday, the penitentiary and its adjacent minimum-security satellite camp housed 1,387 male inmates, its website said.

Thomson is authorized to employ 611 staff, including 365 custody staff, but as of June, the facility had only 411 employees, including 203 custody staff, on the payroll.

There are more than 175,000 federal inmates in 122 prisons nationwide, but homicides are fairly rare: According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 160 inmates were killed between 2001 and 2016.