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Vermont State Police investigate incarcerated man’s death at UVM Medical Center

A prison exterior with hills in the background.
Erica Heilman
Vermont Public File
Robert Brown, who’d been held at the state prison in St. Johnsbury, died at UVM Medical Center on Tuesday after experiencing health issues, according to police.

A 52-year-old man held at Northeast Correctional Complex in St. Johnsbury died on Tuesday at the University of Vermont Medical Center after being hospitalized due to several health issues, Vermont State Police said in a press release.

Robert Brown, of Johnson, was initially brought by ambulance to Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital in St. Johnsbury on Feb. 27 after experiencing shortness of breath and chest pain at the prison.

The Department of Corrections said in a press release on Thursday it authorized the release of Brown on medical furlough due to his worsening condition and low risk to public safety. He was transferred to UVM Medical Center on Feb. 29, according to VSP.

State police were told on Monday that Brown wasn’t expected to survive. Brown died on Tuesday at 2:14 p.m., according to police.

The investigation into Brown’s death is ongoing, though VSP said it does not appear suspicious. The Chief Medical Examiner’s Office will conduct an autopsy to determine a cause and manner of death.

The Department of Corrections and Defender General's Prisoners' Rights Office will conduct separate reviews of the incident, a standard practice when a person in DOC's custody dies.

Brown has been in prison since November, serving a nine month to three year sentence on several charges — including a fourth DUI, leaving the scene of a crash and driving with a suspended license.

Brown is the second incarcerated Vermonter to die this year. There’s been an uptick in prison deaths in recent years. Last year, 11 incarcerated people died, and in 2022, nine people died in state custody.

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Liam is Vermont Public’s public safety reporter, focusing on law enforcement, courts and the prison system.
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