Inmate Michael Prince Died In Detoxification Cell At Sacramento County Main Jail

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA (July 13, 2023) – An inmate identified as Michael Prince has tragically died in a detoxification cell at the Sacramento County Main Jail.

Sacramento County officials are saying that the inmate was first arrested on July 2 after some type of domestic dispute. Michael Prince was booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail following his arrest.

He was placed in a detoxification cell with another inmate. Around 6:00 p.m. on July 8, deputies were alerted that he was not breathing.

Correctional officers and medical staff entered the cell and began life-saving measures. Sacramento County fire was called to the jail and took over medical care.

Sadly, Michael Prince was pronounced dead at the scene. Though he was booked into a cell with another inmate, foul play is not a suspected factor in his death.


Liability For In Custody Deaths At The Sacramento County Main Jail

Jails can be very dangerous places. Many people who are booked into jail may be going through a drug overdose or even a withdrawal. According to the Bureau of Justice Assistance, “Within the first few hours and days of detainment, individuals who have suddenly stopped using alcohol, opioids, or other drugs may experience withdrawal symptoms, particularly when they have used the substances heavily or long-term. Without its identification and timely subsequent medical attention, withdrawal can lead to serious injury or death.” Deaths from withdrawal are preventable and jail administrators have a responsibility to establish and implement policies that will save lives.

  • Jail staff should be trained to identify the signs and symptoms of withdrawal.
  • Jail staff should understand how substances impact the brain and what the recovery process looks like.
  • Jail staff should carefully monitor inmates who are going through withdrawal.
  • Inmates should be monitored by trained medical professionals as they undergo detoxification.

All inmates have a constitutional right to receive reasonably adequate healthcare. When a jail is deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of an inmate, this could form the basis of a constitutional claim. Every inmate goes into prison with a different health profile and health needs. A large portion of inmates will have suffered from substance abuse issues. Failing to give inmates proper medical detoxification puts them at needless risk of injury or death.

Consider, for example, the case of Gohranson v. Snohomish County. A 24-year-old woman was booked into the Snohomish County Jail and started to undergo heroin withdrawal. While in jail she showed signs of severe dehydration and opioid withdrawal. Instead of getting her proper medical care, jail officials reportedly mocked her as she suffered withdrawals. The county eventually reached a settlement with her family after she died. There are a number of steps that should be taken after any in-custody death.

  • It should be determined if the inmate was going through an overdose or withdrawal.
  • Surveillance footage related to the incident should be examined.
  • The jail’s protocols related to substance abuse should be understood.
  • An experienced civil rights advocate should be consulted.

Jails are quick to list a large number of in-custody deaths as “natural.” But nothing could be further from the truth. Many of these so called “natural” deaths involve very young inmates who didn’t get proper care and then died. The family of any person that died in custody may be able to seek some measure of accountability through a civil claim. Inmates have constitutional rights that must be protected. But in far too many situations, jails outsource their healthcare to private companies that are more concerned about making money than providing exceptional care.


Investigating Inmate Deaths At The Sacramento County Main Jail

We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our deepest condolences to the family of Michael Prince. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. There are so many questions that need to be answered. Was this inmate being properly monitored? Were jail staff giving him adequate care in the detoxification unit?

Do you need more information about an in-custody death at the Sacramento County Main Jail? Our team of civil rights advocates are here to answer any questions that you may have. We care deeply that jails are upholding the constitutional rights of inmates and are held accountable when an inmate dies in their care. 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.


legal disclaimer

Legal Disclaimer