Santa Cruz County

Grand jury investigation into county jail deaths reveals troubling trends

Our victory is in the news!

Hard Cell
BY Aric Sleeper, GoodTimes
June 10, 2014

Before Christy Sanders was booked into Santa Cruz Main Jail, she complained of severe pain in the left side of her body, and was sent to the emergency room at Dominican Hospital. There she received a medical examination and an X-ray, but the ER staff did not see anything immediately wrong. They logged their diagnosis into a medical record database, which is shared with the medical staff at the jail. The incident was detailed in a recent grand jury report that investigated Sanders’ death, and those of four others at the county jail.

Deputies had arrested Sanders, a 27-year-old Felton resident, on August 12, 2012, for failing to appear in court on charges of petty theft. The next day, Sanders received medical screenings in the jail, where she declined treatment, including medicine for opiate detoxification. Later that afternoon, she said she was still experiencing chest pain, and saw the jail doctor, who did not find any serious medical issues and sent her back to her cell.

That same day, a Dominican Hospital radiologist revised Sanders’ diagnosis, and noted in the record database that her condition warranted a “close follow-up,” but the information went unnoticed by the jail’s medical staff, and Sanders’ health continued to worsen.

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Sin Barras Proposes Alternatives to Jail Expansion

City on a Hill Press – May 22, 2014 by Aron Garst

California already spends more than 60,000 on each inmate while only spending 9,200 on each K-12 student, and to add to that Jerry Brown is adding $500 million to the states budget to expand county jails.

Last week, organized protests took place across the state in San Francisco, San Diego and Sacramento in a coordinated effort to halt Gov. Brown’s revised May budget. Protesters from the coalition Californians Reunited for a Responsible Budget (CURB) gathered outside the Santa Cruz County’s Superior Courthouse last Wednesday to stand against California’s proposed budget.

“It’s really illuminating to see where the state’s priorities are,” said community organizer Tash Nguyen. “We’re in a place where we really need to follow the money to see how lawmakers are addressing our issues. Clearly they’re not.”

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Report blasts Main Jail over inmate deaths

We’ve won! Community organizing works!

Santa Cruz Sentinel – May 21, 2014: Report blasts Main Jail over inmate deaths by Jason Hoppin

A Santa Cruz County civil grand jury on Wednesday issued a scathing report into a slate of Main Jail inmate deaths during an 11-month period, saying most were preventable.

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Sin Barras Comic: Bigger Jail, No Strings Attached?

Our very own Noah Miska made another comic!

Now it’s your turn–tell our Supervisors that Santa Cruz doesn’t want $24 million to build a bigger jail! Our County should not be investing more resources in a system that targets poor families and families of color.

Sin Barras Comic: Bigger Jail, No Strings Attached?

Let’s uplift our community by taking action and spreading the word!