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Vermont DOC Reports Death of Incarcerated Individual in St. Albans

Waterbury, VT – The Vermont Department of Corrections today announced the death of Shawn Gardner, a federal detainee at Northwest State Correctional Facility (NWSCF) in St. Albans, Vt.

Shawn Gardner, 37, of Newport, Vt., was detained at Northern State Correctional Facility in Newport on July 25, 2023, and transferred to NWSCF prior to a scheduled federal court appearance on July 26, 2023. Shortly after returning from court Wednesday evening, Department staff observed Mr. Gardner experiencing a medical event. Department and medical staff immediately began life-saving measures and called for emergency medical services (EMS). Life-saving efforts were unsuccessful.

The Department is conducting internal administrative and medical reviews following this critical incident. The official cause of death will be determined by the Vermont State Medical Examiner but is not considered suspicious at this time. 

The Department notified Vermont State Police and the Defender General’s Prisoners’ Rights Office of the death per state law and protocol. These entities will conduct separate investigations into the death in conjunction with Department administrative and medical reviews. The Department is also coordinating with the United States Marshals Service. The Department’s Peer Support Team is available for NWSCF staff.

Mr. Gardner’s criminal history dates to a 2003 conviction for a registered sex offense. He was released from Department custody in 2019. In the years following his release, he was charged with heroin possession, heroin trafficking, and careless and negligent operation of a vehicle.