pexels-pixabay-236380Inmate Terence Coleman, 51, Killed In Suspected Homicide At High Desert State Prison In Susanville

SUSANVILLE, CALIFORNIA (March 2, 2024) – A 51-year-old inmate identified as Terence Coleman has tragically died while in custody at the High Desert State Prison in Susanville.

Lassen County officials are saying that the incident took place on Friday. Correctional officers believed that two inmates aged 39 and 40 attacked Terence Coleman.

Medical staff began life-saving measures before the victim was taken to the hospital in critical condition. Despite life-saving measures, Terence Coleman was pronounced dead.

A full investigation remains ongoing at this time.


Liability For Susanville Inmate Deaths

Homicide remains one of the leading causes of inmate death in the United States. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, “ State prisoners in 2018 were slightly more likely to die of cancer, liver disease, and suicide and more than twice as likely to die from homicide than the adjusted population of adult U.S. residents. Ten in 100,000 state prisoners died from homicide in 2018, the highest homicide rate in state prisons since 2001.” There are a number of measures that jails should take in order to prevent inmate homicides.

  • Jails should screen all inmates to understand their propensity towards violence.
  • Violent inmates should typically be segregated away from non-violent offenders.
  • Jails should be adequately staffed by well-trained guards.

Depending on the facts of any case, a jail could be liable for the death of an inmate in their care. Jails have a legal obligation to protect inmates from reasonably foreseeable sources of harm, including attacks by other inmates. If a jail has specific knowledge of particular threats and fails to act, this could form the basis of a constitutional claim. Victims of attacks within a prison tend to suffer very serious and costly injuries, including:

  • Broken bones
  • Head injuries
  • Lacerations
  • Organ damage

Many inmates, unfortunately, never recover from their injuries and die after being attacked. Homicides remain highly preventable within the jail system. But far too often, jails fail to follow the safety protocols that would have prevented these attacks. Part of the problem is that jails in California are often overcrowded. Inmates have to compete for resources and space, which can naturally lead to conflicts. The family of any person who died in jail may be able to seek some measure of support through a civil claim.


Investigating Deaths At High Desert State Prison

We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our deepest condolences to the family of Terence Coleman. Any person who may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. It is our hope that measures are taken to make this prison safer.

Do you need more information about an inmate death at the High Desert State Prison? Our team of civil rights attorneys is here to help in any way that we can. We care deeply that inmates get the support they deserve and that prisons are upholding constitutional standards. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of support, we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (949) 825-5200.



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