© 2022 Maine Public
header.jpg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Nicole Turner remembered Saturday at a vigil at the York County Jail

peggy.jpg
Peggy Turner speaks a vigil for her niece Nicole Turner at the York County Jail. Nicole Turner died at the jail July 3.

Family and friends gathered at York County Jail Saturday night to remember 34-year-old Nicole Turner, who passed away two weeks ago of what police said is a suspected drug overdose. Her family said she was in jail for petty crimes connected to her addiction and had been in a treatment program prior to her jail stay. Nicole's aunt, Peggy Turner, said Nicole was traumatized by abuse she suffered in the foster care system and needed mental health therapy and medical care, not jail time.

"I just feel like all the systems failed her. She was traumatized," Turner said. "That led to addiction, that led to petty crimes, that led to her death."

York County Sheriff Bill King said the Maine State Police are investigating Turner's death, and awaiting the results of a toxicology report to confirm the cause of death. King said Turner was on the list to be evaluated for the jail's new Substance Use Disorder treatment program. Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition Assistant Director Jan Collins said residents like Nicole Turner should be treated for addiction in medical facilities, not in jails.

"We've had four deaths in Maine's jails in four months and that's not okay," Collins said. "Jails should not be a place where people go to die."