Members of Fresno Community Express Concern after Death of Inmate at Fresno County Jail

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PC: Fresno Sheriff

By Daniella Espinoza

FRESNO, CA – During the early hours last Monday morning, it was reported on Fresno’s local news channel, ABC30 Action News, that there was a death of an inmate inside the Fresno County Jail and that deputies are conducting an ongoing investigation.

According to deputies, the death happened late Sunday night but no other specifics on the identity or cause have been released to the public.

While the public has yet to hear about the specifics of the incident, it is clear that there is growing disdain with the county in regard to inmate treatment, according to many comments on the original post, showing growing concerns over a lack of information and concerning trends.

“A building full of cops and yet more deaths are happening when they’re in jail than the streets,” said one commenter, “Something is clearly wrong here and does not need to be ignored! Protest in front of the jail.”

“I swear these jails hide EVERYTHING,” another frustrated commentator exclaimed.

Before the most recent events, it was reported that Fresno County has a history of mishandling health issues or concerns when it comes to incarcerated individuals.

In an investigation published by The Reader, it was stated, “No other jail in California has seen a sharper increase in inmate deaths than the Fresno County Jail.”

Furthermore, The Reader also found that “the problem is particularly acute in places like Fresno, Kern and Merced counties, inland stretches of California, where deaths have surged disproportionately.”

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims claimed because county jails hold many “dangerous” people “awful events, including deaths, are almost inevitable.”

Much like information when it comes to inmate deaths, the very access to critical pandemic data (such as rates of transmission, positive tests, etc.) have proven to be difficult for agencies to attain.

According to a fellow Davis Vanguard reporter, Ned Meiners, “Without accurate data to rely on, it is impossible to understand the true scope of the pandemic in California’s jails, and how to best ensure the safety of those living there in the future.”

While the case last Sunday is not confirmed to have any connection to COVID-19, as there is very little information on the cause of death, it paints a harrowing picture: that the Fresno County Jail may have to face its community in the coming days due to the ongoing issues in reporting deaths, according to community members.

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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