Inmate Roland Wrigley Died After Becoming Unresponsive In Cell At The Santa Clara County Main Jail In San Jose

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA (July 25, 2023) – An inmate identified as Roland Wrigley has tragically died after being found unresponsive in his cell at The Santa Clara County Main Jail.

Santa Clara County officials are saying that the incident took place on Saturday. Correctional officers noticed that Roland Wrigley was unresponsive on the floor of his cell.

Medical staff and correctional officers entered the cell and began CPR. He was also given Narcan which is used to counteract the effects of an opioid overdose.

Despite life-saving measures,  Roland Wrigley was pronounced dead at the scene not long after he was discovered. A full investigation into the San Jose in-custody death remains ongoing at this time.

This death follows a number of fentanyl overdoses at the Elmwood Correctional Facility.


Liability For San Jose Inmate Deaths

Overdoses remain one of the most common causes of in-custody death in the United States. According to PBS, “The alcohol and drug overdose death rate increased fivefold in prisons from 2009 through 2019, according to a recent study from the Pew Charitable Trusts — a surge that outpaced the national drug overdose rate, which tripled in the same period.” There are a number of different substances that inmates have overdosed on including:

  • Fentanyl
  • Heroin
  • Methamphetamine
  • Alcohol

It is also common for inmates the become seriously ill or die from withdrawal if they are not given proper care after entering prison. All jails have a legal obligation to provide inmates with reasonably adequate healthcare. Jails should be proactive about keeping inmates healthy as opposed to simply waiting for an inmate to go into medical distress. When a jail is deliberately indifferent about the serious medical needs of an inmate this could form the basis of a constitutional claim. There are a number of ways that a jail may have failed to properly care for an inmate who died in-custody.

  • Correctional officers may have failed to give an inmate a medical screening.
  • Correctional officers may have failed to remove illicit substances from an inmate during the booking process.
  • Correctional officers may have failed to perform welfare checks.
  • Correctional officers may have failed to intervene in a timely fashion to save an inmate in medical distress.

Many jail deaths are preventable. This is true even when jails list deaths as ‘natural.’ The average age of a person who dies in-custody from ‘natural’ causes in LA County was 40, according to one report from UCLA. The family of any person that died in jail may have legal recourse through a constitutional claim. Jails must uphold the constitutional rights of inmates and when they fall short they can be held accountable.


Investigating Santa Clara County Inmate Deaths

We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our deepest condolences to the family of Roland Wrigley. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. There needs to be a thorough investigation into what happened for the sake of this inmate’s family.

Do you need more information about an in-custody death at The Santa Clara County Main Jail? Our team of civil rights advocates are here to answer any questions that you may have. We focus on helping people who been harmed due to jail neglect. 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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