Inmate Jonathan McDowell Died After Being Found Unresponsive In Jail Cell At George Bailey Detention Facility In Otay Mesa

OTAY MESA, CALIFORNIA (August 6, 2023) – An inmate identified as Jonathan McDowell has died after being found unresponsive at the George Bailey Detention Facility in Otay Mesa.

San Diego County officials are saying that the incident took place on July 19. Jonathan McDowell was found unresponsive in his jail cell.

Correctional officers and medical staff entered the cell in order to help him. He was given CPR, Naloxone and an AED device was used.

Despite life-saving measures, Jonathan McDowell was later pronounced dead. A cause of death remains unknown at this time. However, Naloxone is typically administered to inmates who are suspected of going through an opioid overdose.


Liability For Inmate Deaths At The George Bailey Detention Facility

San Diego County has a very troubling history with respect to the care it has given inmates. According to the San Diego Tribune, “When looking only at county jail deaths, the 10-year rate in San Diego County was 243.7 deaths per 100,000 inmates, compared to 155.9 in San Bernardino, 149.5 in Los Angeles, 145.9 in Santa Clara, 118.1 in Orange and 93.9 in Sacramento.” In fact, San Diego County has one of the highest instances of inmate mortality across all counties in California. There have been a number of factors that have contributed to these deaths.

  • Inmates have died after not being given proper care for long-term health conditions.
  • Inmates have not gotten proper treatment in the midst of health emergencies.
  • Inmates have not always gotten adequate psychological care.

All inmates have a constitutional right to receive reasonably adequate healthcare. This includes care when an inmate is in the midst of a medical emergency. Jail should also be proactive about keeping illicit drugs away from inmates. Correctional officers should be adequately trained to identify when an inmate is in the midst of a serious health crisis. There are a number of ways that a jail may have failed to properly care for an inmate who died.

  • Correctional officers may have failed to perform periodic welfare checks.
  • Correctional officers may not have performed CPR correctly.
  • Correctional officers may have failed to protect an inmate who was known to have suicidal thoughts.
  • Correctional officers may have ignored the advice of medical doctors.

If a jail is deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of an inmate, this could form the basis of a constitutional claim. Jails will often list in-custody deaths as ‘natural,’ but this is often highly misleading. Many ‘natural’ in-custody deaths are preventable and due to inadequate medical care. The family of any person that died in-custody may have legal recourse. A civil rights advocate can examine all of the unique facts of your case and let you know what your legal options are.


Investigating Inmate Deaths At The George Bailey Detention Facility

We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our deepest condolences to the family of Jonathan McDowell. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. It is our sincere hope that steps are taken to prevent other tragedies like this.

Do you need more information about an in-custody death at the George Bailey Detention Facility in Otay Mesa? Our team of civil rights advocates are here for you. We specialize in instances of inmate deaths due to 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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