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By Miriam Raftery

Photo: cc via Bing

July 21, 2021 (San Diego) – A fentanyl overdose may have claimed the life of 22-year-old Saxon Rodriguez, an inmate at the San Diego Central Jail. He was found unresponsive in his cell, which had two other inmates, yesterday at 10 a.m.  Despite lifesaving efforts by deputies and medical personal, Rodriguez was pronounced dead at the facility.

An autopsy today by the County Medical Examiner found Rodriguez tested positive for Fentanyl, a powerful opiate, however more laboratory tests are required to confirm the cause and manner of his death.

“No evidence of foul play was discovered,” says Lt. Thomas Seiver.

But activist Tasha Williamson disagrees. On Facebook, she wrote, "Drug overdose in a jail with the highest in custody deaths is foul play...walk in and rolled out dead, this jail system ain’t safe. One death on average per month."

Rodriguez was a resident of Chula Vista. He was arrested July 16 on charges of indecent exposure and assault with a deadly weapon that was not a firearm.

More than 150 inmates have died in custody in San Diego County facilities run by the Sheriff’s department since 2009, the highest rate among all large California’s counties. The alarming rate prompted Dr. Akilah Weber, our region’s new Assemblymember, to propose a measure along with some other members of the San Diego legislative delegate that would require an independent state audit of San Diego County jail deaths. A joint legislative audit committee approved the measure earlier this month.

“The approval of this audit request may provide answers to the many families who have lost loved ones while in the custody of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office,” said Assemblymember Weber. "A jail sentence should not be a de facto death sentence. We can use this opportunity to uncover the disparities of the department protocol so that we can implement better procedures for protecting the safety of incarcerated individuals.”

The California State Auditor estimates a seven-month timeframe to complete the report, according to a press release from Weber’s office.

The death of Rodriguez comes just three days after seven inmates were found to have overdosed on Fentanyl at the Otay Mesa detention facility, but deputies and medical personnel were able to save those inmates’ lives by promptly administering Naloxone.



You woke, virtue-signaling Liberals are pure comedy. "arrested July 16 on charges of indecent exposure and assault with a deadly weapon" Tough loss right there, I'm sure he'll be missed. Jail isn't supposed to be a fun place, and it's not going to be a safe space either. Maybe we should put them up at the Ritz Carlton and provide personal bodyguards for protection? I think a dietitian and a personal trainer would be nice too. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes, receive sympathy from stupid people.

"A jail sentence should not be a de facto death sentence."

Ok, let me do some math. 150 deaths in 13 years, that's about 11 per year. Divide that by 5,000 county jail inmates (since COVID that's been cut 3,800). That is 2/10 of 1%.

The exact rate, if I am calculating this correctly, is 00.23076923076923%. The annual death rate nationwide according to google is 8.2 deaths/1,000 population (2016). That is 00.82%, or 4 times higher than the local inmate death rate. (but very few county jail inmates are 80)

However, I am thinking at least one or two of my numbers are wrong. my calcs strike me as just as questionable as the IMPLICATION of the subject of my thread. (Obviously the statement in and of itself, without context, is most certainly true)

It's the highest rate among major CA counties, not nationwide.

There are some in other areas, such as some Southern counties, that are worse.

I'm not sure how the rate is calculated; is that the number of inmates per day, per month, per year that you are using?  Still the deaths are troubling and so many seem preventable, like drug overdoses -- there shouldn't be drugs in jails obviously.  Others have died from other causes ranging from hanging to one found with a rolled up sock in his mouth. 


calculated them per year

I calculated them per year. 11 per year out of 5,000 people (historically, at a time) in county jails and 8.2 per year per 1,000 people in the USA. But it's apples and oranges; people aren't dying of old age in county jails (maybe federal prisons, but not county jails).

I like her jail death audit bill the Assembly just passed. Even one death is too many, and each should be investigated thoroughly to see if next time it can't be successfully prevented. But the sentence about a prison sentence being a de facto death sentence, it set off my &$ detector (at least, as you delineate, Miriam, in California). It would be nice if she were in Congress. But, "so goes California, so goes the Nation."