Homeless Man Arrested For Marijuana Possession, Overdoses On Fourth Day In Jail

After failing to pay his $100 bail for possession of marijuana, a homeless man was found dead in his New Hampshire jail cell just four days after being arrested. With some of the strictest marijuana laws in the United States, drug arrests can be especially difficult for poor residents in their state, as they can remain in prison for almost three weeks waiting for their court date. While many of the details are still unclear, a few things are known for sure.

Jeffrey Pendleton was a homeless man with a minimum wage job who was arrested for possession of a small amount of marijuana. Unable to pay bail, Pendleton died in his cell four days later due to a fentanyl overdose.

Jeffrey Pendleton was a responsible employee

According to his manager, while his job wasn’t high-profile or difficult, he was still a good employee. A homeless 26-year-old doesn’t have a lot of options in today’s job market, but Pendleton was a hard-worker. The manager at the Burger King that employed Jeffrey was surprised to hear about the overdose. Pendleton had good work attendance and never showed up to a shift high on anything.


Along with his manager, Pendleton wanted to see change in America’s economy. He had dealt firsthand with issues that many people feel are the root of our country’s problem of perpetual poverty. As the New Hampshire Union Leader reported, both men were active in the “Fight for $15” minimum wage movement that involved many of America’s top fast food chains.

Pendleton was homeless and couldn’t make bail

Many of the details about this story have yet to be uncovered. There is no report detailing the circumstances that lead to Pendleton being homeless. At the young age of 26, one would have to speculate that he did not have family in the area, or that Pendleton wasn’t close with his family.


The young man was being held on $100 bail that he couldn’t pay. The charges leading to the man’s arrest were possession of marijuana and failure to pay a $200 court fine. Since Pendleton was unable to pay the $100 bail that resulted from being unable to pay a $200 fine, he remained behind bars for at least four days before he was found dead in his cell.

County official admits the problem

When asked about the situation on Wednesday, David Dionne (Hillsborough County Corrections Superintendent) said that Pendleton shouldn’t have been in prison, and noted that the system probably needs an overhaul. As it stands now, when someone can’t afford a minor bail like $100, they end up sitting in jail for 20 days awaiting their trial. When interviewed yesterday, Dionne noted that there were 31 people in jail with bonds set lower than $1000 for such non-violent crimes as trespassing, prostitution and drug possession.

Since many of those who can’t afford bail are also receiving government benefits, their 20-day imprisonment removes them from their programs, and they are forced to reapply when they’re released after three weeks. For most, life is hard both inside and outside of prison. According to Dionne, Pendleton is the second person to overdose on Fentanyl in his prison just this year.