Thursday, December 13, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 41

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on March 7th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 1 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 19, Issue 1

County jail inmate found unresponsive in cell dies at hospital


An inmate at the Santa Barbara County Jail who was found unresponsive in his cell on March 1 was transported to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital before dying in the early morning hours of March 2.

Henry Acuna, 60, of Santa Barbara was booked into the county jail on May 31, 2017, for attempted robbery and an outstanding warrant, according to the Sheriff's Office. Acuna was "under medical observation at the jail due to chronic medical issues," according to the Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer Kelly Hoover said that as soon as Sheriff's Office guards found Acuna unresponsive, an ambulance was called.

"He had a pulse, he was just unresponsive," Hoover said. "He was immediately transported to the hospital, where he was still breathing until he was pronounced deceased."

The Sheriff's Office's Criminal Investigations Division is conducting an investigation to determine what caused Acuna's death, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The Sheriff's Office and Santa Barbara County are currently facing a federal class action lawsuit over conditions at the jail, including the treatment of inmates with medical issues. In a complaint filed on Dec. 6, 2017, the lawsuit seeks court-ordered reforms of jail policy specifically to improve the quality of life for inmates with mental illnesses and disabilities.

"Defendants county of Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office systematically and knowingly (1) fail to provide adequate medical and mental health care to the people housed in the jail," the complaint reads, "(2) overuse isolation and solitary confinement; (3) discriminate against and fail to accommodate people with disabilities; and (4) provide inhumane, unsanitary, and unsafe living conditions."

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