Inmate Cory Benton, of Santa Barbara County, Died In Suspected Homicide At Salinas Valley State Prison In Soledad

SOLEDAD, CALIFORNIA (October 16, 2023) – An inmate identified as Cory Benton has tragically died in a suspected attack at the Salinas Valley State Prison in Soledad.

Monterey County officials are saying that the incident began around 3:19 p.m. on Sunday. Three inmates allegedly attacked Cory Benton with an inmate manufactured weapon.

The victim sustained multiple stab wounds before correctional officers intervened. Cory Benton was taken to an outside medical facility, but efforts to revive him were not successful.

He was pronounced dead a little over an hour after the initial attack. A full investigation into the incident remains ongoing at this time.


Liability For California Jail Homicides

Violence is a common occurrence at state and federal prisons. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, “Homicide rates were similar in local jails (3 per 100,000) and State prisons (4 per 100,000). y 67% of homicide victims in State prisons had served at least 2 years; 37% had served 5 years. Violent offenders were the victims of most State prison homicides (61%), and their jail homicide rate (5 per 100,000) was over twice that of nonviolent offenders (2 per 100,000).” There are many steps that jails should take to prevent inmate homicides.

  • Correctional officers should be well-trained in conflict resolution and de-escalation techniques.
  • Jails should do their best to segregate jail members based on their criminal history and potential for violence. In general, rival gang members should be kept away from each-other.
  • Jails should provide inmates with adequate mental health treatment.
  • Jails should be properly staffed and not overcrowded.

Depending on the facts of any case, a jail could be liable for the death of an inmate in their care. Jails have a legal obligation to protect inmates from reasonably foreseeable sources of harm, including attacks by other inmates. If a jail has specific knowledge of particular threats and fails to act, this could form the basis of a constitutional claim. It is crucial that evidence is properly preserved after any inmate homicide.

  • It should be determined if weapons were used and how the assailant got a hold of them.
  • Eyewitnesses should be interviewed.
  • Surveillance footage should be sought.
  • The history between the victim and the assailant(s) should be understood.

Jail homicides may appear random in many circumstances. However, they are often preventable. Jail officials may have failed to prevent inmates from gaining access to weapons. It is also possible that correctional officers failed to separate inmates with a violent history towards one another. It is important that inmates and their families understand that they do have rights. The family of any person that died in a jail attack may be able to seek some measure of accountability through a civil claim.


Investigating Monterey County Inmate Deaths

We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our deepest condolences to the family of Cory Benton. 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 a death at the Salinas Valley State Prison in Soledad? Our team of civil rights advocates are here to help in any way that we can. We focus entirely on helping people who have been harmed by police abuses of power and jail neglect. 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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