Inmate Liliana Zuniga, 29, Died After Being Found Unresponsive In Jail Cell
LOMPOC, CALIFORNIA (October 8, 2023) – A29-year-old female inmate identified as Liliana Zuniga has tragically died while staying at the Lompoc jail.
Santa Barbara County officials are saying that the incident took place on Thursday. Correctional officers noticed that Liliana Zuniga was unresponsive in her jail cell.
Jail and medical staff entered her cell and began life-saving measures. Paramedics also arrived at the scene and took over CPR.
Despite those efforts, Liliana Zuniga was not able to be revived and was pronounced dead. A full investigation into the incident remains ongoing at this time.
Liability For Lompoc Jail Inmate Deaths
Jail deaths across the United States have continued to rise over the last decade. According to the UCLA Behind Bars Data Project, “In 2020, at least 6,182 people died in U.S. prisons. This is a 46% increase in the lives lost behind bars from 2019, despite a 10% decrease in the overall prison population. The U.S. has seen a significant, continual increase in deaths in prisons over the past two decades.” There are a number of steps that jails should take in order to prevent inmate deaths.
- Jail staff should be trained to identify when an inmate is in medical distress.
- Jail staff should typically segregate violent inmates from non-violent offenders.
- Inmates should be given regular health checkups.
Every inmate has a legal right to receive reasonably adequate medical care for their health needs. This will include care for both acute and chronic health conditions. When a jail is deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of an inmate, this could form the basis of a constitutional claim. For example, a jail may not have given an inmate the medication that they required. Numerous factors can contribute to poor inmate care.
- Inmates are less likely to get adequate care if jails are overcrowded.
- Inmates are less likely to get adequate care when jails are understaffed.
- Inmates are less likely to get adequate care in certain counties where jails are poorly funded.
A large portion of inmate deaths are due to jail medical neglect. In particular, many jails outsource healthcare to private companies. These companies are primarily concerned with winning contracts and providing inmates with the least amount of care that they can. Meeting constitutional requirements is not at the top of the agenda. The family of any inmate that dies in custody may be able to seek some measure of justice through a civil claim.
Investigating Lompoc Jail Deaths
We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our deepest condolences to the family of Liliana Zuniga. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to police. It is our sincere hope that steps are taken to prevent other deaths at this jail.
Do you need more information about an in-custody death at a Lompoc Jail? Our team of civil rights advocates are here to help in any way that we can. We focus on helping those who have been harmed by jail neglect. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of assistance after an in-custody death we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (949) 825-5200.