Families say they have been threatened by call and text into sending thousands of dollars to protect loved ones on the inside. Some suffered anyway.
A relative finally ended what was clearly extortion. “I told everybody to stop sending money,” a cousin, Steven Davis, recalled. “He might get beat up, but they will stop when they know they can’t get any more money.”
One night in July 2017, after two pleading calls from his imprisoned cousin, Mr. Davis refused to answer a third. Soon after, the family received another call, this time from the prison chaplain. Mr. Wood had been strangled in his cell. He was 33.