LEXINGTON, Okla. (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Senate adopted a resolution Tuesday to approve a settlement agreement for the family of Joshua England, who died at the Joseph Harp Correctional Center in Lexington in 2018. He was three months from being released on a short-term prison stay for arson.

England’s family sued the Oklahoma Department of Corrections for $1.05 million after he died from a ruptured appendix. The family said the DOC did little to help the inmate while he suffered for days.

Senate lawmakers adopted the resolution, moving forward with the settlement.

“Oklahoma statutes require any settlement over $250,000 be approved by the legislature,” said Greg Treat, president pro tem.

The lawsuit claimed England begged prison staff for help five separate times over a seven-day span. The documents also stated he was doubled over in pain, could barely breathe, and was spitting up blood.

News 4 spoke to one of the family’s attorneys in 2019 when the lawsuit was filed. Paul Demuro said England was only offered laxatives and Pepto-Bismol.

“We lock up people and we can’t afford to provide them minimal medical care that you or I would provide our golden retriever,” said Demuro.

Court records also showed prison staff “falsified medical records to attempt to cover up their shocking misconduct.”

England was recorded while he was forced to sign paperwork that stated he denied medical attention.

One the Senate floor Tuesday, lawmakers questioned how these situations can be avoided.

“Do we know if there are going to be corrective actions taken to avoid this type of situation in the future?” said Kay Floyd, (D) Oklahoma City.  

Treat responded by saying he shared that concern.

“I have spoken to members of my caucus, the chair of public safety and the chair of the public safety and judiciary subcommittee, to make sure there’s accountability in this matter,” said Treat.

Attorneys for the family told News 4 in a statement, “If the State of Oklahoma is intent on locking up so many of its citizens for non-violent offenses, the State needs to devote far more resources and attention to its correctional system to fulfill its constitutional obligation to provide basic medical care for people in its custody.”

The Attorney General’s office approved the settlement agreement that went to legislatures. Tuesday’s actions will go towards working the settlement into next year’s budget for the DOC.

News 4 reached out to the DOC and asked if the staff involved in England’s case were still working at the prison. We also asked if measures have been taken to prevent situations like this from happening again. We have yet to hear back but earlier in the day they did tell us “we cannot comment on current pending litigation or settlements” when asked about the lawmakers approval.