Monterey, CA – Attorneys for 6 families filed lawsuits and claims alleging negligence and civil rights violations leading to the wrongful death of inmates at Monterey County Jail.
The Monterey County Jail and its medical and mental health provider for years have failed inmates causing serious injury and multiple deaths. In August of this year, the court in the Hernandez class action case against the jail and Wellpath ordered the unsealing of 30 reports from health care professionals who had inspected the jail to evaluate compliance with previous agreements to curb the negligent behavior. These reports revealed the jail failed time and again over the last eight years to improve inmate conditions.
These reports found Monterey County Jail and Wellpath routinely failed to meet basic compliance standards, putting inmates in danger both in terms of their physical and mental health.
For mental health standards, the jail failed to provide adequate mental health support staff, such as an onsite psychologist, failed to track the timeliness of responses to inmate mental health checks, and failed to do regular mental health checks especially on “at risk” inmates.
These reports also scrutinize the jail’s relationship with Wellpath. Wellpath is contracted to deliver medical and mental healthcare at roughly 500 jails, prisons and detention centers in 37 states across the country.
These changes were court-mandated, yet Wellpath has continually failed to comply with the agreement. As a result, Monterey County Jail’s death rate is more than twice the national average, and the suicide rate is more than three times the average for California jails.
On September 26 of this year, a United States District Court judge ruled Wellpath was out of compliance with 43 remedial requirements related to medical, mental health, and dental care. Hon. Beth Labson Freeman ordered Wellpath to come into compliance within six months or face a $25K fine per issue.
In a series of lawsuits and claims filed over the last year, the families of the men who died while in custody have come forward to hold the jail, its staff, and Wellpath, LLC accountable. In every instance, the jail employees and Wellpath medical/mental health staff failed to properly care for men who were suffering from obvious medical ailments, mental illness and/or psychological trauma. Several of these inmates died by suicide despite the jail and Wellpath knowing about their serious mental health issues, including suicide attempts or suicidal ideation just hours before dying.
These lawsuits accuse the jail and Wellpath of failing to provide proper medical and mental health attention and adequate monitoring. Three of these deaths occurred as recently as this year, with one man dying the very day he arrived at Monterey County Jail.
“The pain these families and loved ones are suffering is unimaginable,” said attorney Jamie Goldstein. “These stories are almost too awful to believe, as jail staff stand by while people in need of help take their lives month after month at the very same institution in the very same manner. The staff need to change their behavior immediately.”
In Patino v. County of Monterey, Carlos Patino Regalado died by suicide in March of 2021 even though the staff was aware he suffered from serious psychological ailments. He was placed on suicide watch multiple times during his stay and just hours before his death he was moved to an isolation cell that contained hanging points.
In Chavez v. County of Monterey, Juan Carlos Chavez died on April 20, 2022, just two days after he was taken into custody.
These cases are:
- Chavez v. Monterey County, USDC Northern District of California, Case No. 3:23-cv-01878-TLT.
- Ana Regalado Patino v. County of Monterey, USDC Northern District of California, Case No. 5:22-cv-01564-BLF
“These men deserve the same medical care as anyone in this nation, and the failure of the staff to provide even the bare minimum medical and mental health care constitutes a level of neglect rarely seen in America,” added attorney Elise Sanguinetti. “That this is how we treat our incarcerated and mentally citizens is shameful.”
Release of Documents
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