Vigil Held After Irene Rivera Died In-Custody of The Kern County Sheriff’s Office At The Central Receiving Facility In Bakersfield

BAKERSFIELD, CALIFORNIA (September 19, 2023) – A woman identified as Irene Rivera has tragically died in custody while staying at the Central Receiving Facility in downtown Bakersfield.

Kern County officials are saying that the incident took place on Tuesday night. Irene Rivera was in the custody of the Kern County Sheriff’s Office when she died early Sunday morning.

Very few details about her death have been released at this point. Her family members and friends gathered outside of the Central Receiving Facility in downtown Bakersfield in order to hold a vigil.

They are demanding answers about the circumstances of her death. So far, this is the eighth inmate death involving the Kern County Sheriff’s Office.

You can help support the family of Irene Rivera through GoFundMe. The online fundraiser was created by Joseph Reed-Rivera. It reads, “We’re the Rivera family. Grieving our loved sister, daughter, and mother. We ask any help you are able to contribute will be greatly appreciated.”


Liability For Kern County Inmate Deaths

Thousands of inmates or detainees die in-custody every year. Many of those that die were never formally convicted of a crime. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, “In 2019, a total of 3,853 prisoners died in state prisons or private prison facilities under a state contract, a decrease of 284 deaths from 2018. The number of federal prisoners who died in the custody of a facility operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) increased from 378 in 2018 to 381 in 2019.” There are many factors that could lead to an inmate death.

  • Inmates may not receive adequate medical care for chronic health conditions.
  • Inmates may not get adequate care in the event of a medical emergency.
  • Inmates may be attacked by other inmates or jail staff.
  • Inmates may die from a drug overdose or drug withdrawal.

All inmates have a constitutional right to get the medical care that they need to stay healthy. The level of care that any particular inmate may need will depend in large part on their unique health profile. Having said that, many inmates enter the prison system with acute medical and health needs. This may necessitate that they get certain medications or other treatments. When a jail fails to give an inmate the care that they need to stay healthy and alive, this could form the basis of a constitutional claim. Many steps should be taken after any inmate death.

  • The medical profile of the inmate that died should be understood.
  • Surveillance footage should be sought.
  • All medical records related to the inmate that died should be examined.
  • An independent autopsy may need to be performed.
  • An experienced civil rights attorney should be contacted.

Losing someone that you love is already extremely hard. The grief in this situation is often compounded by a jail’s lack of transparency. In far too many situations, jails will release few or no details about how an inmate died in their care. This is partly because many inmate deaths are due to inadequate medical care or jail neglect. The family of any person that died in custody may be able to seek some measure of justice through a constitutional claim.


Investigating Inmate Deaths At The Central Receiving Facility In Bakersfield

We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our deepest condolences to the family of Irene Rivera. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. The Kern County Sheriff’s Office needs to do the right thing and be totally transparent about what took place. In addition to that transparency, it is our sincere hope that action is taken to curb the steady flow of inmate deaths within Kern County.

Do you need more information about an in-custody death at the Central Receiving Facility? Our team of civil rights advocates are here to help in any way that we can. We focus exclusively on helping people who have been harmed by police abuses or jail neglect. Whether you just have legal questions or need a free, independent investigation into any in-custody death we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (949) 825-5200.


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