Inmate Heather Hendy, 29, of Corona, Died While Staying At The Robert Presley Detention Center In Riverside
RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA (December 20, 2023) – A 29-year-old female inmate identified as Heather Hendy has tragically died after being found unresponsive at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside.
Riverside County officials are saying that the incident began around 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. Prison guards noticed that Heather Hendy was not responding to them.
They entered the cell and discovered that she was unresponsive and in need of medical aid. Medical personnel were called to the cell and began life-saving measures.
However, these efforts were not successful and Heather Hendy was later pronounced dead. The sheriff’s department said that there are no signs of foul play.
A full investigation remains ongoing at this time.
Liability For Riverside County Inmate Deaths
Riverside County has a particularly poor reputation with respect to the care that inmates have been given. The county has been hit with numerous lawsuits and an investigation by the California attorney general. According to the Desert Sun, “Earlier this year, the California Attorney General Rob Bonta opened a civil rights investigation of the sheriff’s department, citing a large numbers of jail fatalities and other in-custody deaths in Riverside County.” Inmates have alleged numerous forms of abuse and mistreatment.
- Inmates have complained about not getting adequate medical care.
- Inmates have complained about not getting proper mental healthcare.
- Inmates have complained about the excessive force of prison guards.
- Inmates have complained about unsanitary living conditions.
Depending on the facts of any case, a jail or private healthcare provider could be liable for the death of an inmate in their care. The Eighth Amendment prohibits jails from utilizing cruel and unusual punishment. Failing to give inmates proper healthcare is a form of cruel and unusual punishment and is therefor prohibited. There are a number of ways that a jail may have contributed to an in-custody death.
- Jail officials may not have given an inmate the medication that they needed.
- Jail officials may have delayed getting an inmate to the hospital.
- Jail officials may not have properly monitored an inmate before they went into medical distress.
In many situations, inmates will request to be seen by a doctor only to have these requests denied. It is important that evidence is properly preserved after any in-custody death. Evidence will ultimately reveal who was at fault regardless of what prison officials may claim. The family of any person that died in a Riverside County jail may have legal recourse through a civil claim.
Investigating Inmate Deaths At The Robert Presley Detention Center
We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our deepest condolences to the family of Heather Hendy. There are so many questions that remain unanswered. This is the third in-custody death in Riverside County in just five days. It is our sincere hope that measures are taken to prevent other tragedies like this.
Do you need more information about a Riverside County inmate death? Our team of civil rights advocates are here to help. We care deeply that inmates are aware of their rights and that jails are held accountable for their unconstitutional actions. In fact, we focus entirely on helping people who have been harmed by police abuses of power and jail medical neglect. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of support we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (949) 825-5200.