Inmate Ruben Banuelos Died Following Medical Emergency At Tehama County Jail

TEHAMA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA (November 25, 2023) – A 37-year-old inmate identified as Ruben Banuelos has tragically died in custody at the Tehama County Jail.

Tehama County officials are saying that the incident took place on Tuesday. Ruben Banuelos began experiencing symptoms of an illness before he was transported to a hospital.

His condition continued to deteriorate during his hospital stay. Sadly, Ruben Banuelos  died after being hospitalized for three days. He is survived by his three children.

A full investigation remains ongoing at this time.


Liability for Tehama County Inmate Deaths

Inmates are much more likely to die in custody than people who are not incarcerated with a similar health and age profile. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, “A total of 4,234 persons died in state and federal prisons in 2019, a 6.6% decrease from the 4,515 deaths in 2018 reported to the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ (BJS) Mortality in Correctional Institutions (MCI, formerly the Deaths in Custody Reporting Program) data collection.” Jail deaths are more likely to take place in a number of different situations.

  • Overcrowding: When a jail is overcrowded, this can put an enormous strain on the healthcare that all inmates receive.
  • Staff Training: Correctional officers face a number of challenging situations including inmate health emergencies. When jail staff are poorly trained, this can make inmate deaths more likely.
  • Inadequate Resources: Jails should have all of the resources that they need to keep inmates healthy. This includes having drugs like Naloxone that can be used to reverse the effects of an overdose.

The Eighth Amendment of the constitution prohibits jails from utilizing cruel and unusual punishment. The Supreme Court has consistently held that denying inmates care for their health needs is a form of cruel and unusual punishment and is therefore prohibited. When a jail is deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of an inmate, this could form the basis of a constitutional claim. There are many ways that a jail could contribute to an inmate death.

  • A jail may have failed to get an inmate to the hospital in time. In many situations, jail staff will delay medical transport for days or even months.
  • A jail may have not treated the psychological needs of an inmate at risk of self-harm.
  • A jail may have failed to get an inmate the medication that they required.

Many jail deaths are often highly preventable. This is particularly true when a jail death is listed as natural. A large portion of the supposedly “natural” jail deaths across California involve inmates in their 30’s and 40’s. Medical neglect often plays a role in these deaths. The family of any person that died in jail may have legal recourse through a constitutional claim.


Getting Legal Help After Tehama County Inmate Deaths

We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our  deepest condolences to the family of Ruben Banuelos. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to authorities. It is our sincere hope that steps are taken to prevent other tragedies like this.

Have you or someone that you care about been harmed while staying at the Tehama County Jail? Our team of civil rights attorneys are here to help in any way that we can. We are committed to helping inmates understand their rights and holding jails accountable for their unconstitutional actions. Whether you just have legal questions or need a free, independent investigation into any in-custody death, we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (949) 825-5200.


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