Inmate Damon Bietz Died In-Custody While Staying At Riverside County Jail

RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA (September 19, 2023) – A 48-year-old inmate identified as Damon Bietz has tragically died after being found unresponsive at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside.

Riverside County officials are saying that the incident began on Thursday. Corrections officers found Damon Bietz unresponsive in the inmate area of the jail.

Deputies and jail medical personnel began life-saving measures. Paramedics were called to the scene and tried to resuscitate the inmate, but those efforts were unsuccessful.

Sadly, Damon Bietz was later pronounced dead. The Sheriff’s Department said that they have not discovered any signs of foul play.

A full investigation remains ongoing at this time.


Liability For Riverside County Inmate Deaths

Riverside County has a very poor track record with respect to the care that it has given inmates over the years. According to the Desert Sun, “Nineteen inmates died in the county’s jails last year, the most according to public records going back more than a decade. The [Riverside County Sheriff’s Department] is currently under investigation by the California Office of Attorney General.” In particular, many people have been concerned that Riverside County inmates are not getting adequate medical care due to the excessive number of inmate deaths. There are many measures that jails should take in order to prevent inmate deaths.

  • All inmates should get a medical screening before they are admitted into a jail.
  • Corrections officers should be trained to identify when an inmate is in medical distress.
  • Jails should follow the advice of doctors and other medical professionals.

Inmates have a right under the constitution to receive adequate medical care. Failing to give inmates proper medical care is considered cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment. Many inmates die in-custody due to drug overdoses. Indeed, drug overdoses are one of the leading causes of inmate death. These deaths are often preventable. In particular, any person going through an opioid overdose should typically receive Narcan and CPR. When a jail fails to give an inmate proper care and they die in custody, a jail or medical health provider could be held liable. There are many ways that a jail may have failed to properly care for an inmate.

  • Jail staff may have failed to give inmates the medications they required.
  • Jail staff may have failed to timely intervene in the event of a medical emergency.
  • Jail staff may have failed to protect an inmate from falling inside of their cell.

While it is true that some inmates die from natural causes with deaths that could not be avoided, many inmate deaths are preventable. In far too many situations, jail staff don’t intervene to help inmates until they are in the midst of an emergency. It is important that inmates and their families understand that they do have rights. The family of any inmate that died in-custody may be able to seek accountability through a civil claim. A civil rights attorney can examine the unique facts of your case free of cost and let you know what your legal options are.


Investigating In-Custody Deaths At The Robert Presley Detention Center

We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our deepest condolences to the family of Damon Bietz. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. So many people have died at this jail in recent years. It is our hope that concrete steps are taken to prevent other tragedies like this.

Have you or someone that you care about been harmed while staying at the Robert Presley Detention Center? There are a number of laws designed to help you. Our team of civil rights advocates are dedicated to holding jails accountable for their abuse and 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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