Inmate Raul Contreras  (Full Name: Raul Zambrano Contreras) Died In Custody After Medical Emergency At Los Angeles County Jail

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (November 19, 2023) –  A 35-year-old inmate identified as Raul Contreras has tragically died at a Los Angeles County jail.

Los Angeles County officials are saying that the death occurred on August 11. Correctional officers noticed that Raul Contreras was in some type of medical distress.

He was taken to the hospital where his condition worsened. Sadly, Raul Contreras was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

His cause of death was listed as an “accident” due to “anoxic encephalopathy.” a full investigation remains ongoing at this time.


Liability For Los Angeles County Inmate Deaths

Thousands of inmates die every year due to medical conditions and injuries. Many of these deaths involve brain injuries. According to Pub Med, “Anoxic encephalopathy, or hypoxic-ischemic brain injury, is a process that begins with the cessation of cerebral blood flow to brain tissue, which most commonly results from poisoning (for example, carbon monoxide or drug overdose), vascular injury or insult, or cardiac arrest.” There are many steps that jails should take in order to prevent anoxic encephalopathy.

  • Jails should be equipped with Narcan in the event of an inmate overdose.
  • Correctional officers should be trained on the proper guidelines for the use of restraints.
  • Jails should be well-staffed with qualified medical professionals.
  • Jails should maintain a clean and safe environment to prevent accidents which could result in anoxic encephalopathy.

Every inmate in Los Angeles County and across California has 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. Liability for any instance of jail medical neglect could extend to a private healthcare provider. Jails commonly outsource healthcare to private corporations. It is important that evidence is properly preserved after any in-custody death.

  • All of the inmates medical records should be sought.
  • An independent autopsy may need to be performed.
  • The actions of prison guards leading up to a death should be known.
  • Surveillance footage from within the prison should be examine.

Jails are often quick to claim that an inmate died due to natural causes. However, this label is often very misleading. A large portion of the “natural” jail deaths in LA County involve inmates in their 30’s and 40’s. The family of any inmate that died in-custody may have legal recourse 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 Los Angeles County Inmate Deaths

We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our deepest condolences to the family of Raul Contreras. There have been so many deaths at Los Angeles County jails this year. There needs to be systematic changes across LA County jails to prevent further death and injury.

Have you or someone that you care about been harmed while in custody at a Los Angeles County jail? Our team of personal injury attorneys are here to help in any way that we can. We care deeply that accident victims are aware of their rights and 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.


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