Hamilton Co. inmate dies from drug overdose

James Barton
James Barton
Barton was found dead in his cell on April 13, 2013
Barton was found dead in his cell on April 13, 2013

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The Hamilton County Sheriff's Department has released the findings of an internal probe into the death of a county jail inmate from a drug overdose.

The inmate's mother, Rose-Ann Christen, wants to know how her son, James Barton, was able to get drugs while in custody.

Christen says she had enough of her son's heroin addiction, revealing that he was constantly stealing to support his habit.

Therefore, Christen had her son arrested in hopes of breaking his cycle of addiction, but she says it was a decision that still haunts her.

"I regret turning him in now knowing that he could get this inside the jail."

Barton got heroin while in jail. He was found dead in his cell on April 13, and a report released from the Hamilton County Coroner's Office reveals that Barton died from an overdose of heroin and anti-anxiety medication he was prescribed.

He was in jail on more than 20 charges of credit card theft, which his mother blames on his drug addiction.

A report on an internal investigation into Barton's death states, "It is clear that drugs entered this facility by unknown means which I cannot determine with absolute certainty."

It goes on to say, "With a facility this size you cannot keep everything out."

However, Barton's mother disagrees with the report, arguing, "Yeah, there is. You know how you have to go through airport security? They have the camera that X-rays you from inside out."

FOX19 has reached out repeatedly to Hamilton County jail officials to get their side of the story, but say they've been unavailable for comment.

Although, a memo by Chief Investigator William Rarrick states, "James Barton knew that he was taking several types of medication and was disciplined for boarding it and was aware of the consequences of his actions."

Rose-Ann Christen and a group of supporters plan a protest in front the Hamilton County Justice Center next week with a simple message: Keep drugs out of the jail.

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