Inmate Trevor George (Full Name: Trevor William George) Died After Being Found Unresponsive In Jail Cell
SANTA CRUZ, CALIFORNIA (September 6, 2023) – An inmate identified as Trevor George has tragically died after being found unresponsive in his cell at the Santa Cruz Main Jail.
Santa Cruz County officials are saying that the incident began around 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. Correctional officers noticed that Trevor George was unresponsive in his cell before they entered.
Jail medical staff began life-saving measures, but those efforts were not successful. Sadly, Trevor George died at the hospital.
The county’s forensic pathologist determined his cause of death to be suicide by asphyxia. This brings the total in-custody deaths at the jail to 7 since 2019.
It is also the fourth death by suicide in that same time period.
Liability For In-Custody Deaths At The Santa Cruz Main Jail
Suicides in custody are tragically far more common than many people may realize. According to the Auditor of the State of California, roughly 20 percent of all California in-custody deaths in 2020 were due to suicide. From the year 2001 to 2019, the number of suicides increased 85 percent in state prisons, 61 percent in federal prisons and 13 percent in local jails. Asphyxia by hanging accounted for nearly 90 percent of all inmate suicide deaths. There are many ways that jails can work to prevent inmate suicides.
- Inmates should get a mental health screening when they are first admitted.
- Jail staff should be trained to recognized the warning signs that an inmate may be at increased risk of self-harm.
- Inmates at heightened risk of suicide should be carefully monitored in an isolation cell.
- Isolation cells should be free of items that can be used to commit suicides like bed sheets.
All inmates have a constitutional right to receive reasonably adequate medical care for their specific needs. This includes medical care for inmates that are at risk of suicide. Inmates often enter the jail system with a lot of trauma. Many have been physically or sexually abused. Jail officials must do everything within reason to prevent inmates from harming themselves. When a jail is deliberately indifferent to an inmate’s risk of suicide, this could form the basis of a constitutional claim. In particular, correctional officers may have failed to remove objects used to facilitate a suicide such as bed sheets.
Consider, for example, the tragic death of Dieter Herriges-Love. He had a history of mental and substance abuse problems. However, his extensive medical issues were not properly documented by jail staff. Sadly, he later died by suicide with the assistance of his jail-issued bed-sheet and nonsuicide-resistant bunk. In a civil lawsuit against the Macomb County Jail (MCJ), attorneys representing his estate argued that the jail engaged in a pattern of enabling pretrial detainees to commit suicide with jail-issued bed sheets. The county eventually reached a settlement with his family. There are many steps that should be taken after any inmate suicide.
- Eye witnesses should be interviewed.
- Relevant surveillance footage should be sought.
- Medical records of the inmate that died should be examined.
- A thorough investigation should be conducted.
It can be hard to know where to begin after any in-custody death. To make matters worse, jails will almost never be completely transparent about the death of any inmate in their care. The fact of the matter is that many inmates suicides are completely preventable. Far too often jails are simply indifferent to helping inmates at heightened risk of suicide. This is one of the reasons it is so important that all evidence is properly preserved after any in-custody death.
Investigating In-Custody Deaths At The Santa Cruz Main Jail
We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our deepest condolences to the family of Trevor George. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. This is the fourth in-custody death by self harm at this prison since 2019. It is our sincere hope that steps are taken to prevent other tragedies like this.
Do you need more information about an in-custody death at the Santa Cruz Main Jail? Our team of civil rights advocates are here to answer any questions that you may have. We care deeply that inmates and their families are aware of their rights and that jails are held accountable for their neglect. In fact, we focus on helping people who have been harmed by government abuses. 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.