Male Inmate, 64, Died Several Hours After Being Taken Into Custody At Mendocino County Jail

UKIAH, CALIFORNIA (October 8, 2023) – A 64-year-old male inmate has tragically died not long after being taken into custody at a Mendocino County jail.

Mendocino County officials are saying that the incident took place around 12:30 a.m. on Tuesday. A man was taken into custody after allegedly violating parole.

He was placed into a “sobering cell,” where he was monitored for an hour. Correctional officers noticed that the inmate became unresponsive.

Jail and medical staff entered the cell and began life-saving measures in an attempt to get a pulse. An ambulance arrived and paramedics took over life-saving measures.

Despite those efforts, he was pronounced dead around 6:30 a.m. that same day. A full investigation into the incident remains ongoing at this time.


Liability For Mendocino County Inmate Deaths

It is common for people to enter the jail system with various substance abuse issues. Many inmate deaths are due to drug or alcohol withdrawal. According to PubMed, “Drugs and alcohol are the third leading cause of death in U.S. jails. We analyzed 2000 to 2013 national jail mortality data by coding text data. We identified 1,442 deaths associated with drugs and alcohol. Drug-associated deaths were more than double alcohol-associated deaths during 2009 to 2013 when drug type was available for drug-associated mortality.” There are a number of symptoms jail staff should look for that could indicate drug withdrawal.

  • Flu like symptoms
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Muscle cramps
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings

Jails must provide inmates with reasonably adequate healthcare. This includes care in the event an inmate is going through an overdose or withdrawal. For starters, jail staff should be trained to look for signs that an inmate may be going through withdrawal. Inmates at risk from withdrawal must receive “medical detoxification,” which is done under the supervision of medical professionals. If a jail fails to properly care for an inmate going through withdrawal, this could form the basis of a constitutional claim. It is important that evidence is properly preserved after any in-custody death.

  • Medical records should be preserved.
  • An independent autopsy may need to be performed.
  • Surveillance footage should be sought.
  • The actions of correctional officers prior to any death should be understood.

Jails must do everything within reason to keep the inmates that they care for safe. But in far too many situations, correctional officers are either poorly trained or indifferent about inmates going through withdrawal. Many correctional officers may not be fully aware how serious withdrawal can actually be without medical intervention. The family of any inmate that died in-custody may be able to seek some measure of justice through a constitutional claim. A civil rights attorney can examine all of the unique facts of your case and let you know what your legal options are.

Investigating Mendocino County Inmate Deaths

We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our deepest condolences to the family of the man that died at this jail. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to police. State officials should do their part and better examine what is behind the rise of inmate deaths across California.

Do you need more information about an inmate death in Mendocino County? Our team of civil rights attorneys are here to help in any way that we can. We focus entirely on helping people who have been harmed by police abuses of power and jail neglect. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of help we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (949) 825-5200.

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