Inmate Michael Sobrero, of Magalia, Died While Staying At The Butte County Jail In Oroville

OROVILLE, CALIFORNIA (August 29, 2023) – An inmate identified as Michael Sobrero has tragically died at the Butte County Jail in Oroville after being found unresponsive in his jail cell.

Butte County officials are saying that the incident took place around 2:20 a.m. on Saturday. Correctional deputies noticed Michael Sobrero was unresponsive.

Jail staff and medical staff entered his cell and began life-saving measures. He was transported to the Oroville Hospital in order to receive additional treatment.

Despite those life-saving measures, Michael Sobrero was pronounced dead at the hospital. Investigators found evidence to indicate that the inmate may have used a bed sheet to commit suicide.

A full investigation into the incident remains ongoing at this time.


Liability For Butte County Jail Inmate Deaths

Suicide remains one of the leading causes of inmate death in state and federal prisons. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, “A total of 340 persons in state and federal prisons and 355 persons in local jails died by suicide in 2019 […] The number of suicides in local jails increased 5% from 2018 to 2019, while suicides in state and federal prisons were stable.  Suicides accounted for 30% of deaths in local jails and 8% of deaths in state and federal prisons in 2019.” There are a number of steps that jails should take to prevent inmate suicides.

  • Jails should screen inmates for suicide risk when they are first admitted.
  • Correctional officers should monitor inmates for warning signs and stressors.
  • Inmates should receive mental health support and healthcare for the duration of their stay.
  • Jails should do everything that they can to give inmates lives that are worth living.

Inmates have a constitutional right to receive reasonably adequate healthcare. This includes mental healthcare. Inmates often come into the prison system with an enormous amount of trauma. There are often clear signs that an inmate is at a heightened risk of suicide. When a jail is deliberately indifferent to the serious risk of an inmate’s suicide, this could form the basis of a constitutional claim. If, for example, an inmate attempted to commit suicide on numerous occasions,  but correctional officers still failed to prevent future self-harm, this could create liability. Numerous steps should be taken after any in-custody death.

  • Eye witnesses should be interviewed.
  • Jail medical records should be preserved.
  • The actions of correctional officers leading up to the deaths should be understood.
  • A thorough investigation should be conducted.

Far from being random occurrences, suicides are often highly preventable when the right safety protocols are in place. Among other things, jails should house inmates at a heightened risk of suicide in a “safe room” or a health clinic. Sadly, though, many jails simply do not care about the well-being of the inmates that they are charged with protecting. The family of an inmate that died by suicide may be able to seek some measure of accountability through a civil claim.


Investigating Butte County Jail Inmate Deaths

We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our deepest condolences to the family of Michael Sobrero. 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 inmate death at the Butte County Jail? Our team of civil rights advocates are here to answer any questions that you may have. We are committed to helping inmates and their families understand their constitutional rights and ensuring that those rights are being protected. 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