Inmate Scott Gunter (Full Name: Scott James Gunter), 59, Died In Suspected Attack At Wasco State Prison

WASCO, CALIFORNIA (October 5, 2023) – An inmate identified as Scott Gunter has tragically died following a suspected attack by his cellmate at the Wasco State Prison.

Kern County officials are saying that the incident took place on Monday. Correctional officers noticed that Scott Gunter was unresponsive in his shared jail cell.

Jail staff and medical staff began life-saving measures, but they were not successful. Scott Gunter was later pronounced dead.

His 45-year-old cellmate is suspected of strangling him to death. A full investigation into the attack remains ongoing at this time.


Liability For Inmate Deaths At Wasco State Prison

Jails are supposed to be places of rehabilitation, but far too often they descend into dens of violence. According to the Prison Policy Initiative, “The number of homicides in state prisons reached a record high of 120 deaths in 2018, a reminder that while prisons are secure, they are largely unsafe. Violence in prison is commonplace, tied to trauma prior to incarceration as well as mental health stressors inside.” Numerous factors could contribute to an inmate homicide.

  • Jails may fail to confiscate inmate manufactured weapons.
  • Jails may be understaffed.
  • Jails may be overcrowded.
  • Jails may fail to properly supervise inmates.

Depending on the facts of any particular case, a jail could be liable if an inmate dies in an attack involving another inmate. A jail may have had specific knowledge of particular threats and failed to act. For example, an inmate may have threatened to kill their cellmate on numerous occasions, but jail officials may have still failed to intervene. Victims of jail attacks tend to suffer very serious injuries including:

  • Broken bones
  • Head injuries
  • Lacerations
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Death

Most inmate homicides are preventable. They can be prevented when jail officials remove weapons from inmates and promote a culture of cooperation. Sadly, though, many jail officials are fine with the status quo. The family of any person that died in custody may be able to seek some measure of justice through a civil 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 Inmate Attacks At Wasco State Prison

We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our deepest condolences to the family of Scott Gunter. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to police. It is our sincere hope that there is a thorough investigation into what happened.

Have you or someone that you care about been harmed while staying at the Wasco State Prison? Our team of civil rights attorneys are here to help in any way that we can. We care deeply that inmates are aware of their rights and that those rights are being protected. Whether you just have legal questions or are thinking about hiring an attorney we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (949) 825-5200.


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