Inmate Ruben Guzman Died After Being Found Unresponsive In Jail Cell At The John J Benoit Detention Center In Indio
INDIO, CALIFORNIA (July 9, 2023) – An inmate identified as Ruben Guzman has died after being found unresponsive in his jail cell at the John J Benoit Detention Center in Indio.
Riverside County officials are saying that the incident took place around 3:30 p.m. on Monday. Ruben Guzman was found unresponsive in his jail cell by correctional officers.
Custody staff and medical personnel entered the cell and began life-saving measures. Ruben Guzman was taken to the hospital for further treatment where he was later pronounced dead on Friday.
A full investigation into the in-custody death at the John J Benoit Detention Center in Indio remains ongoing at this time.
Liability For Riverside County In-Custody Deaths
Riverside County has a particularly troubling history with respect to in-custody deaths. According to the Los Angeles Times, there were 18 in custody deaths in Riverside County in 2022. This makes 2022 one of the deadliest years for inmates in well over a decade. This has come at the same time that California Attorney General Rob Bonta has launched an investigation into the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department for its treatment of inmates. The probe sheds light on numerous allegations against the Sheriff’s Department.
- The Sheriff’s Department has allegedly engaged in numerous instances of excessive force.
- The Sheriff’s Department has allegedly mistreated or neglected the inmates in their care.
- The Sheriff’s Department has allegedly engaged in a pattern of unconstitutional policies at jails across the county.
Many inmates enter prison with pre-existing health conditions. Other inmates may develop health conditions during their incarceration. In either situation, jails have a responsibility to provide these inmates with necessary medical treatment. When a jail is deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of an inmate, this could form the basis of a legal claim. For example, many inmates don’t get the care they need for seizures or other medical conditions.
Consider, for example, the case of Razon v. County of Santa Clara. Ryan Bascos was arrested for failure to appear in court. Prior to his arrest he was diagnosed with an enlarged heart, heart failure, pulmonary hypertension, asthma and shortness of breath. One of his treatments required him to have continuous home oxygen. Sadly, though, the officers that arrested him refused to let him take his oxygen equipment to jail. He later went into acute respiratory arrest in custody and later died at the hospital. The county eventually reached a settlement with his family. There are a number of steps that should be taken after any in-custody death.
- Surveillance footage from inside the jail should be sought.
- The actions of correctional officers leading up to the death should be understood.
- An autopsy may need to be performed.
- A thorough investigation should be conducted.
It is never a good sign when an inmate is found unresponsive in their cell. This tends to occur when that inmate was not getting proper care in the first place. Jails are supposed to be proactive in keeping inmates safe and healthy. But in far too many situations, this does not happen. The family of any inmate that dies in custody may be able to seek some measure of justice through a wrongful death claim. A civil rights advocate can examine the unique facts of your case and let you know what your legal options are.
Investigating Riverside County In-Custody Deaths
We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our deepest condolences to the family of Ruben Guzman. The details about this in-custody death remain deeply troubling. There needs to be a thorough investigation into what went wrong. It is our sincere hope that steps are taken to curb the number of inmate deaths across Riverside County jails.
Have you or someone that you care about been injured while staying at the John J Benoit Detention Center in Indio? Our team of civil rights advocates are here to assist you in any way that we can. We focus entirely on helping people who have been harmed by abuses of government power. Whether you just have legal questions or need a free, independent investigation into any incident we are here for you. You are always welcome to contact us anytime at (949) 825-5200.