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An Arkansas Department of Correction inmate died Monday at the Ouachita River Correction Unit's hospital in Malvern, a prison spokesman said Tuesday.

Inmate Windell Hawkins, 60, died of "natural causes" at 1:18 a.m. Monday, prison spokesman Cathy Frye said in an email. Hawkins, who entered the prison system in 2011, was serving a seven-year Pulaski County sentence for failure to register as a habitual sex offender.

Frye also said Tuesday that inmate John Hardin III, 71, died of "natural causes" at 1:32 p.m. March 11 at the Ouachita Correctional Unit Hospital. Hardin, who entered the prison system in 1996, was serving a 38-year Crittenden County sentence for rape and second-degree murder.

Frye said Hardin's death was not immediately reported because prison officials were unable to notify family members until Tuesday.

In January, prison officials stopped releasing a specific cause of death for inmates. Instead, each death is classified as "natural causes," unless there are special circumstances that would lead to an Arkansas State Police investigation.

There have been 21 Arkansas prison deaths since Jan. 1; there were 56 deaths in 2014.

State Desk on 03/20/2015

Print Headline: 2 inmates' deaths reported

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