DELANO, CALIFORNIA (October 3, 2023) – An inmate identified as Ariel Torres has tragically died in a suspected attack by another inmate at the North Kern State Prison in Delano.
Kern County officials are saying that the incident took place around 9:08 a.m. on Wednesday. A correctional officer noticed that Ariel Torres was unresponsive in his cell.
Jail and medical staff entered the cell and began life-saving measures. Ariel Torres was transported to the jail triage center in order to receive additional treatment.
However, he was pronounced dead at 9:41 p.m. that same day. The incident is currently being investigated as a homicide.
Liability for Inmate Deaths At North Kern State Prison
Jails have become increasingly dangerous and violent places. According to NBC Los Angeles, “California state prisoners are killed at a rate that is double the national average — and sex offenders like Ager account for a disproportionate number of victims, according to an Associated Press analysis of corrections records.” There are many factors that could contribute to instances of inmate-on-inmate violence at prisons.
- Overcrowding at prisons and jails can lead to increased tension among inmates. Inmates may fight for limited resources such as living space as well as food.
- Gang activity can also lead to violence, especially when prisons place rival gang members together.
- A large portion of the people in prison suffer from serious mental health challenges. Untreated mental illness can lead to fights and outbursts of violence.
- Lax security measures can also contribute to instances of violence. In particular, many homicides involve inmate-manufactured weapons that correctional officers fail to confiscate.
Jails and correctional facilities may face liability if an inmate in their care is killed by another inmate. When there is evidence that a jail was deliberately indifferent to a known risk of harm, this could form the basis of a constitutional claim. Correctional officers may have shown deliberate indifference if they were aware of a substantial risk of harm to an inmate and knowingly failed to address it. In certain instances, jails may need to separate dangerous inmates from other inmates. Several steps should be taken after any inmate homicide.
- Eye witnesses should be interviewed.
- Surveillance footage should be sought.
- Any weapons used in the attack should be examined.
- An experienced civil rights attorney should be contacted.
Inmate homicides are often preventable. But in far too many situations, jail staff are simply indifferent to the well-being of the inmates they care for. It is important for inmates and their families to understand that they do have rights. The family of any person that dies in custody may be able to seek some measure of accountability through a civil claim. A civil rights attorney can examine all of the unique facts of your case and let you know what your legal options are.
Investigating Inmate Deaths At North Kern State Prison
We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our deepest condolences to the family of Ariel Torres. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. There needs to be some accountability for the sake of the victim and his family.
Have you or someone that you care about been harmed while staying at the North Kern State Prison? There are a number of laws designed to help you. Our team of civil rights attorneys are here to help in any way that we can. We care deeply that inmates are aware of their rights and that jails are upholding constitutional standards. Whether you just have legal questions or need more information about an in custody death we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (949) 825-5200.