State News
August 28, 2015

Prisoner found dead at women’s correctional facility

By Elizabeth Hewitt, VTDigger.org

Police are investigating the death of a woman who was being detained at the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility, Vermont’s only women’s correctional facility.

Kristine L. Brennan, 49, died at the facility Monday, Aug. 17, following her arrest Saturday Aug. 15, on charges of retail theft and misdemeanors.

In a press release Monday, Vermont State Police said that there was no indication of “any signs of foul play.” An autopsy was scheduled for Tuesday.

Brennan was due to be arraigned in the criminal division of Chittenden County Superior Court on Tuesday. At the time of her death, Brennan was being held for lack of $750 bail.

Brennan was discovered unresponsive in her cell Monday afternoon, at which time prison personnel provided medical attention and arranged for transportation to the hospital, according to a press release from the Vermont State Police. She was pronounced dead at the UVM Medical Center.

South Burlington police arrested Brennan on Saturday following reports that she had shoplifted from the JC Penney store on Dorset Street. Brennan allegedly stole three packages of shirts from the store, which had a collective value of $65, according to a South Burlington Police Department affidavit. According to the affidavit, Brennan told police that she “steals clothing and sells the merchandise on the street so that she can buy food, drink, and cigarettes.”

According to the affidavit, at the time of her arrest on Saturday, Brennan complained that she would be “sick” in corrections because of drug withdrawal. Traynor wrote in the report that Brennan “stated she was currently sick and she believes it is an infection from sharing needles.”

South Burlington Police Chief Trevor Whipple said in a phone interview that if Brennan had clearly been in need of medical attention at the time of her arrest, the police would have brought her to the hospital or called for EMTs.

“There was nothing to lead us to believe that that individual required care at that moment,” [South Burlington Police Chief ] Whipple said.

The Vermont State Police, the Agency of Human Services and the Defender General’s Office are all conducting investigations.

Brennan is the fourth person to die in custody of the Department of Corrections this year.

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