Inmate Eric Magana, of Livermore, Died In-Custody At Santa Rita Jail In Dublin After Being Found Unresponsive In Cell

DUBLIN, CALIFORNIA (July 11, 2023) – A man identified as Eric Magana has tragically died after being found unresponsive in his cell at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.

Alameda County officials are saying that the incident began around 10:35 a.m. on Monday. A deputy apparently saw Eric Magana drinking large amounts of water from the sink in his cell and vomiting.

At some point after this observation, he was taken to the jail’s outpatient housing unit for observation. Around 3:35 p.m. that day a correctional officer found him unresponsive in his bed.

Jail medical staff and paramedics began life-saving measures. However, Eric Magana was pronounced dead around 4:05 p.m. that Monday.

During the intake process, he informed medical staff that he used drugs prior to his arrest. However, it does not appear that sheriff’s officials took any action with this information.

Instead, they claimed that there was no cause for concern during the rest of the medical intake process. A full investigation into the in-custody death remains ongoing at this time.


Liability For Alameda County In-Custody Deaths

Jails are supposed to be places of rehabilitation. But far too often, they are where people go to be neglected and forgotten. According to National Public Radio, “From 2001 to 2018, the number of people who have died of drug or alcohol intoxication in state prisons rose more than 600%, according to an analysis of newly-released data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.” There are a number of factors behind the sharp rise of overdose or drug related deaths in prison.

  • Jails often do a poor job of keeping dangerous drugs like fentanyl out.
  • Many correctional officers are not properly trained to identify when suspects are going through an overdose or withdrawal.
  • Understaffed jails typically mean that inmates are not getting the medical care that they need to stay healthy.

The moment that the government assumes control over a person by placing them in-custody, they have to take care of them. Every inmate has a constitutional right to receive reasonably adequate healthcare. Inmates should be medically screened when they enter a prison. If a correctional officer is deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of an inmate, this could form the basis of a constitutional claim. It seems like this should not happen, but it is actually very common.

Consider, for example, The Estate of Bernard Victorianne v. County of San Diego. A 28-year-old man was arrested for allegedly operating his vehicle under the influence of alcohol. As he was being booked into jail, he confided in a nurse that he recently swallowed a bag of meth. The nurse informed correctional officers that he needed immediate medical care, but these instructions were ignored. Instead, he was placed in solitary confinement and went into medical distress before dying. County officials eventually reached a settlement with his family. There are many ways a jail could contribute to an in-custody death.

  • Jail officials may have failed to perform a thorough medical screening.
  • Jail officials may have failed to remove dangerous contraband from inmates.
  • Jail officials may have failed to listen to the directions of a nurse, doctor or other healthcare professional.

Jails have become an increasingly dangerous place for inmates. Many of the people who are incarcerated have an issue with substance abuse. But this is not always treated properly. Part of the problem is that jails sometimes outsource their healthcare to for profit companies that care more about making money than providing exceptional care. The family of any person that died in-custody can hold the jail that housed them accountable through a constitutional claim.

Investigating Inmate Deaths at The Santa Rita Jail

We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our deepest condolences to the family of Eric Magana. This was a tragic outcome that should not have taken place. There are so many questions that need to be answered. Did jail staff do a thorough medical evaluation? Did jail staff take any action once they knew this man had recently taken drugs? Did jail staff listen to the medical advice of the doctors and nurses around them?

Have you or someone that you care about been harmed due to the neglect of correctional officers at the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin? Our team of civil rights advocates are here for you. We focus exclusively on helping people who have been harmed by government abuses and neglect. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of support after any in-custody death we may be able to help. You can reach out to us anytime at (949) 825-5200.

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