NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The unexpected death of a 32-year-old inmate in Hampton Roads has led family and friends to raise questions.
Regina Honeycutt passed away back in October. She spent most of her time at the Norfolk City Jail before being transferred to the Hampton Roads Regional Jail.
Regina was serving time for a probation violation. While behind bars at the Norfolk City Jail she met Marquita Britt. The two became fast friends.
“I would be like ‘Regina, you got on some shorts made from a t-shirt and you got on these ghetto looking flip flops walking around the jail'” remembered Marquita. “That girl was funny.”
Marquita said behind the smiles and laughter Regina was in constant, serious pain.
“She complained about her insides not feeling well,” explained Marquita.
10 On Your Side asked if she thought jail officials took Regina’s complaints seriously. She answered the question with a firm “No.”
“Being in there,” Marquita continued, “I see a lot of people not taken seriously.”
Marquita finished her sentence and went home. Regina still had three more years. She would never serve her full sentence.
On Friday, October 5 Regina was transferred to the Hampton Roads Regional Jail. Officials say the transfer was for administrative not medical reasons. At 1 a.m. on October 7, Regina’s dad Timothy Caramillo got a call, his daughter was at the hospital in critical condition.
“They told me that she wasn’t responding,” said Caramillo. “She was responding to me though. I asked her if she could hear me, to blink her eyes and she blinked her eyes very slowly and she also shook her head up and down. So she knew I was there.”
Regina Honeycutt died a few hours later.
According to the medical examiner, Regina died of a bowl perforation caused by colon cancer. Regina’s friends and family think if she had received the proper medical care sooner she would still be alive.
“It doesn’t take rocket science to know somebody’s sick like that” said Caramillo. “You know if they’re complaining. Much more care needs to be taken in that jail. It’s, obviously the system is broken.”
Is the system broken? 10 On Your Side met with Norfolk Sheriff Joe Baron. The sheriff couldn’t go into much detail about Regina’s case specifically because of HIPPA.
“I can tell you that from the time she came into our custody until the time she was transferred to Hampton Roads Regional Jail, that she received all the care that she requested,” explained Sheriff Baron.
The sheriff explained the basics of the jail health care system. He said when an inmate isn’t feeling well they notify a staff member either verbally or in writing.
According to former inmate Marquita Britt they typically saw a medical professional within 24 hours of making a request. But to see a specialist, for example when Marquita herself needed to see a psychiatrist, she says it took 4-5 weeks.
Sheriff Baron says medical care at the Norfolk City Jail is contracted out to a company called Correct Care Solutions. He says the jail has a full medical staff that includes a full time doctor who works Monday to Friday and nurses on the clock 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
The sheriff said he’s highly confident their health care system works. Marquita doesn’t agree and says the system failed Regina.
“It just still hurts because she was my best friend and I just feel like it hurts, because like I said, people are overlooked in the jail and a lot of people just need to know how people are treated,” Marquita said. “Would you like somebody to walk past you and ignore you if you’re sick? Would you want somebody to ignore you if you needed medicine?”
When Marquita left the jail, Regina gave her her favorite bible. Marquita may have lost a friend, but says she’s gained a guardian angel.