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Civilian oversight board schedules town hall to discuss inmate deaths

The volunteer civilian panel that provides oversight of the Sheriff’s Department is hosting a town-hall style meeting Tuesday to review the findings of an independent study into San Diego County jail deaths.

The county Citizens’ Law Enforcement Review Board will convene at 5:30 p.m. to review the findings from Analytica Consulting, the San Diego research firm hired to examine the mortality rate in county jail.

Released earlier this month, the Analytica Consulting report found that San Diego County has the highest number of inmate deaths among California’s 12 most populated counties based on the average daily jail population.

“San Diego County is the only county with a statistically significant number of excess deaths,” the study said.

The report identified 141 in-custody deaths between 2010 and 2020. It did not include the 18 men and women who died in 2021 or the seven people who have died in local jails so far this year.

At least 24 of the fatalities recorded between 2010 and 2020 were classified as “excess deaths,” meaning they exceeded the number of deaths that would have been expected based on the jail population.

“Most other counties have generally fewer total deaths than what is projected by their county mortality rates,” the study found. “This finding corroborates previous reporting suggesting that in-custody deaths are the most acute in San Diego County.”

The meeting will be conducted online. It can be accessed by following this link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/88035684892?pwd=d2pmN2xrbzF5clhEWThEb3FDTnBpQT09#success.

Speakers are encouraged to submit questions in advance by clicking here: https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/clerb/request-to-speak.html.

The California State Auditor issued a report in February that was sharply critical of the Sheriff’s Department’s handling of the county jails. Its review said conditions were so unsafe and deficient that new state legislation was needed.

The Sheriff’s Department said it appreciates the independent reviews and already has implemented a number of changes aimed at protecting inmates and improving health services.



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