Department of Corrections and Community Supervision

New York State
Department of Correctional Services
Glenn S. Goord, Commissioner

Office of Public Information
[518] 457-8182

For immediate release:

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


Elmira Correctional Facility inmate David C. Strait, 42, was found hanging in his single-occupancy room in the prison infirmary at 7:50 a.m. today.

The inmate's single-bed had been turned up on end. A bed sheet was tied to the metal bed frame and then around the neck of the inmate, who was slumped against the bed. He was pronounced dead at 8 a.m. by facility medical staff.

As with all inmate deaths, the incident is being investigated by three state agencies - this Department's Office of the Inspector General, the Division of State Police and the State Commission of Correction - as well as by the county coroner, who will determine the cause of death. Announcement of the inmate's death was withheld until confirmation was received that his family had been notified of his death.

Both state and federal law prohibit the Department's disclosure of anyone's medical or mental health treatment or history.

The inmate was sentenced in Steuben County Court on March 23, 2005, to a five-year determinate term following his plea to second-degree sexual intercourse with a child, a Class D felony. His parole eligibility date was Feb. 12, 2009; his maximum sentence would have expired on Nov. 2, 2009.

The inmate was received at Elmira on April 1 and had been housed in the infirmary since April 10. There were 10 inmates housed in the 26-bed infirmary last night.

Should the coroner determine the cause of death to be suicide, this would become the fourth this year among the 63,563 inmates now housed in New York's 70 state prisons. It would be the first since July 15, 2004, at the 1,856-bed maximum-security prison in Chemung County. Elmira today houses 1,832 inmates.