pexels-rdne-stock-project-6064908Benjamin Medina, 43, Died In Custody At The West Valley Detention Center In Rancho Cucamonga

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CALIFORNIA (June 6, 2024) – A 43-year-old man identified as Benjamin Medina has tragically died in custody at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga.

San Bernardino County officials are saying that the incident took place on May 25. Benjamin Medina collapsed in the housing segment of the jail.

Medical staff responded and began life-saving measures, which included the use of Narcan and CPR. The inmate regained a heartbeat and was taken to the hospital.

Sadly, Benjamin Medina’s health continued to decline over the next several days. He was pronounced dead around 9:30 p.m. on Sunday.

A full investigation into the inmate’s death remains ongoing at this time.

Liability For Rancho Cucamonga Inmate Deaths

Thousands of inmates die in custody each year in the United States. A large portion of them were awaiting trial and had never been convicted of any crime. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, “A total of 4,234 persons died in state and federal prisons in 2019, a 6.6% decrease from the 4,515 deaths in 2018 reported to the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ (BJS) Mortality in Correctional Institutions (MCI, formerly the Deaths in Custody Reporting Program) data collection.” There are a number of common causes of inmate deaths.

  • Drug overdoses
  • Heart attacks
  • Cancer
  • Respiratory illnesses

All inmates have a right to receive reasonably adequate healthcare for all of their medical conditions. Failing to give inmates adequate medical care is considered a form of cruel and unusual punishment and therefore prohibited. In particular, jails and private healthcare providers can be liable if they are deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of an inmate. There are a number of ways that a jail may have failed to properly care for an inmate.

  • Jail officials may not have performed periodic wellness checks on inmates.
  • Jail officials may not have given inmates the medication that they needed.
  • Jail officials may not have taken an inmate to the hospital in a timely manner.

Inmate deaths are often highly preventable. This is particularly true when a death is due to drug overdoses. Jails often fail to prevent illicit drugs from entering the prison system. In the event an inmate overdoses, overcrowding and understaffing within the jail may delay that inmate getting proper care. The family of any inmate who died in custody may be able to seek some measure of justice through a civil claim.

Investigating Inmate Deaths At The West Valley Detention Center

We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our deepest condolences to the family of Benjamin Medina. Any person who may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. State officials should do their part and take additional action to ensure that San Bernardino County jails are complying with constitutional standards.

Do you need more information about an inmate death at the West Valley Detention Center? Our team of civil rights attorneys is here to answer any questions that you may have. We care deeply that inmates are aware of their rights and that those rights are being protected. Whether you just have legal questions or need a free, independent investigation into any incident, we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (949) 825-5200.


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