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Sheriff criticizes mental health system as inmate found dead

VIRGINIA BEACH (AP) An inmate has been found dead at a Virginia Beach jail, leading the sheriff to speak out against the state’s mental health system.

The Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that a deputy and a medical technician attempted to wake 69-year-old Joseph Sisson Jr. to administer medication Monday night, but he didn’t respond and resuscitation attempts were unsuccessful.

The release says Sisson was responsive during routine rounds conducted nine minutes before the medical rounds at the Virginia Beach Correctional Center.

Sheriff Ken Stolle said in a statement that Sisson’s mental illness was the cause of his incarceration. He called Virginia’s mental health system “broken and ill-equipped to help all those who need it.”

Sisson was booked Nov. 20 on four misdemeanor charges.

His cause of death hasn’t been determined.

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