Inmate Charles Johnson, 45, Died Following Medical Emergency At Santa Rita Jail

SANTA RITA, CALIFORNIA (October 3, 2023) – An inmate identified as Charles Johnson has tragically died after some type of medical emergency at the Santa Rita Jail.

Alameda County officials are saying that the incident took place on Thursday. Charles Johnson had some type of medical emergency in his cell and was given aid by jail medical staff.

An ambulance was called and the inmate was transported to Stanford Health Care in Pleasanton. Despite life-saving measures, Charles Johnson died at the hospital.

Jail officials claim that he was cleared by custodial medical and mental health staff prior to his incarceration. A full investigation into the incident remains ongoing at this time.


Liability For Inmate Deaths At The Santa Rita Jail

 Medical emergencies in custody are actually extremely common. According to the Centers for Dissease Control, “To examine nonfatal injury-related ED visits among incarcerated adults, CDC analyzed 2010–2019 National Electronic Injury Surveillance System–All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP) data. During 2010–2019, an estimated 733,547 ED visits by incarcerated adults occurred in the United States.” There are many factors that could lead to a medical emergency for an incarcerated person.

  • Many inmates need care after going through an overdose.
  • A large number of people entering the prison system have substance abuse problems and may go through withdrawal.
  • Inmates may enter the prison system with chronic and acute health needs.

In the United States, the Eighth Amendment prohibits jails from utilizing cruel and unusual punishment on inmates. Accordingly, inmates must be provided with reasonable healthcare for their medical needs. If a jail is deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of an inmate that died, this could form the basis of a constitutional claim. Deliberate indifference occurs when a jail knew of and disregarded a substantial risk of harm. There are many ways that a jail may have failed to properly care for an inmate.

  • A jail may have failed to treat the mental healthcare needs of an inmate.
  • A jail may have failed to give an inmate medical care for an acute health need such as an overdose.
  • A jail may have failed to take measures to prevent an inmate from falling if they were at heightened risk of falling.

Not all medical conditions are sufficiently serious so as to necessitate intervening care. In order to be successful in any claim against a prison, the plaintiff must show that the jail’s deliberate indifference was the direct cause of an inmate’s harm or death. It is extremely important that evidence is properly preserved after any in-custody death. For that reason, it is always a good idea to seek the guidance of an experienced civil rights attorney. They can take steps to make sure that your rights are being preserved and that your interests are taken into consideration.


Investigating Inmate Deaths At The Santa Rita Jail

We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our deepest condolences to the family of Charles Johnson. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to police. It is our sincere hope that steps are taken to prevent other tragedies like this.

Do you need more information about an in-custody death at the Santa Rita Jail? Our team of civil rights advocates 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 the constitution. 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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