Inmate Scott Strieter Died After Being Found Unresponsive In Sonoma County Jail Cell
SANTA ROSA, CALIFORNIA (October 1, 2023) – An inmate identified as Scott Strieter has tragically died after being found unresponsive in his cell at the Sonoma County Jail.
Sonoma County officials are saying that the incident took place on September 11. Correctional officers noticed that Scott Strieter was unresponsive in his jail cell.
Jail and medical staff entered the cell and began performing CPR and called an ambulance. Scott Strieter was taken to the hospital but later died due to his injuries.
It was later determined that he died due to asphyxia by hanging. A full investigation remains ongoing at this time.
Liability For Sonoma County In-Custody Deaths
Sadly, suicides remain one of the major causes of inmate death in the United States. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, “suicides were the leading cause of jail deaths between 2000 and 2019, totaling 6,217 — 30 percent of all deaths in local jails. In 2019, the suicide rate in jails was over two times that of the general public.” Inmates with a history of mental illness tend to be at greater risk of suicide. There are many steps that jails should take in order to prevent inmates from harming themselves.
- Jails should conduct a thorough mental health screening of all who enter in order to identify inmates at risk of self harm.
- Jail staff should be trained to recognize signs of distress and suicide risk.
- Inmates at heightened risk of suicide should be housed in special areas and regularly monitored.
- Jails can help reduce inmate self-harm by doing their best to give inmates lives that are meaningful and worth living.
Jails operated by the state, federal government and private corporations all have a legal obligation to ensure the safety of their inmates. This includes protecting inmates from self-harm. When a jail is deliberately indifferent to the prospect that an inmate may harm themselves, this could form the basis of a constitutional claim. For example, an inmate may have tried to commit suicide on several occasions with little to no intervention on behalf of jail staff. One of the key things that correctional officers should do if an inmate is at risk of suicide is to remove objects that could facilitate this, such as bed sheets. It is important that evidence is properly preserved after any in-custody death.
- Jail medical records should be preserved.
- Surveillance footage should be sought.
- The actions of correctional officers leading up to an inmate death should be investigated.
- A thorough investigation should be conducted.
- The cause of the inmate’s death should be determined.
No one deserves to be neglected when they are struggling with thoughts of self harm. In many situations, inmate suicides can be prevented. But this requires care from every single person inside of a prison. Family members of inmates that die in custody may be able to seek some measure of justice through a constitutional claim. Sadly, though, jails will often do everything that they can to deny responsibility if someone dies in their care.
Investigating Sonoma County Inmate Deaths
We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our deepest condolences to the family of Scott Strieter. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. Every inmate deserves care and support regardless of what crimes they are accused of committing.
Do you need more information about a Sonoma County Jail inmate death? Our team of civil rights advocates are here to answer any questions that you may have. We care deeply that inmates have a safe environment and that jails are held to account for their wrongful actions. Whether you just have legal questions or need more information about an in-custody death, we may be able to help. You can reach out to us anytime at (949) 825-5200.