Santa Rita Jail News


Santa Rita Jail, Dublin, California


Bail its your rightI often hear parents say, "Do you think I should leave him in jail to teach him a lesson?" There are no good lessons to be learned in jail. For the most part the Santa Rita Jail is about day to day survival between inmates. Inmates must protect themselves against theft, fights and must learn to follow a double set of rules. One set from the gaurds and the ones from the inmates. Jail is not a place for a first time offender of a DUI, domestic violence or resisting arrest charge to be learning any lessons. Take a look at some of the news stories from the Santa Rita Jail. 



Santa Rita Goes Into Lock Down

Violence erupted at the santa Rita Jail in Dublin Monday, authorities confine thousands of inmates to their cells. Jail officials say they were concerned about escalating tensions after a fight broke out in the yard at one of the jails minimum sercurity units. As a result, they shut down the entrie jail system, minimum and maximum security units. Alameda County Sheriff officials say the initial fight involved one Latino and one black inmate. Authorities are investigating if it's indicatie of larger racial tensions inside the jail. The Santa Rita Jail authorities says it started, as minimum security inmates in the yard were getting ready for lunch. A deputy noticed that some of the inmates' bagged lunches were gone. The deputy said if the lunches were not returned, yard time would be revoked. After their outdoor time was taken away, tempers flared and fists began to fly. At least one inmate was seriously hurt and had to be taken to the hospital. The lock down was imposed for at least 24 hours. Officials expect it to be lifted Tuesday afternoon. 



Woman dies after being released from the Santa Rita Jail

8/2/18 It was around 1:30am on the morning of July 28 when sheriff deputies at the Santa Rita Jail - the largest Jail facility in California opened the cell and let 26-year-old Jessica St. Louis out onto the street. She'd spent 11 days in custody for minor charges, including theft. When she was released in the early morning hours, she immediately became a target. The jail is fairly remote, surrounded by industrial campuses and open pastures. It's a 40 minute walk from the East Dublin BART station, and the first train doesn't come through until 5 am. Sometime in the four hours after she was released from jail St. Louis died of what appears to be a drug overdose. Her body was found around 5:30am near the passenger pick up area by BART. Initial reports described a large lump on her head, and in the wake of the brutal killing of Nia Wilson, the media questioned whether another young,black woman had been killed near the transportation network. It was later determined that St. Louis hadn't died from foul play and it's likely that if that had been clear up front her story would not have received much press outside of the recent spate of BART homicides.


Two Men Die at the Santa Rita Jail

8/24/18 Two inmates died in separate incidents at the Santa Rita Jail last week, including a "weekender" who was sentenced to only be incarcerated on the weekends, according to Sgt. Ray Kelly with the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, which runs the jail. 

The cause of their deaths has not yet beendetermined, according to Kelly, butit's highly unusual for two inmates to die in the same week. Every year there's usually a few deaths in the jail, but usually not more than four or five. "Two within a couple of days is very unique," Kelly said. "But they're not connected in any way."

The first death happened on June 24, shortly before 7:30pm, Kelly said. The 23-year-old man was only supposed to be incarcerated for the weekend and had arrived the night before.  According to Kelly, on Saturday evening, he started acting "bizarre" and deputies called medical staff to help him. He was taken to Valley Care Medical Center in Pleasanton, where he died.  Kelly said he did not know if deputies used force or restrained the man before he was taken to the hospital. He said it's possible the man had taken drugs, but the results of his autopsy and toxicology tests are still pending. 

The second death happened three days later, just before 9 am on Tuesday. According to Kelly, the 45-year-old man was in a cell by himself and had come out for breakfast. He went back into his cell and deputies doing a check of inmates found him on the floor. 

Neither of the inmates' names have been released. The two deaths bring the total number of deaths of inmates at Santa Rita to three, this year. The last death happened on April 9, when a 37-year-old man, identified as Logan Masterson, apparently killed himself in his cell.

Prior to that, the last time an inmated died at the Santa Rita Jail was on Nov. 28, 2017, when an inmate was found unresponsive in his cell at about 3 am in another apparent suicide, according to the sheriff's office. 

The Alameda County District Attorney's Office, along with the sheriff's office, is investigating last week's two in - custody deaths. "We treat every death in the jail as a homicide, even though it's not," Kelly said. "We go full speed on everthing and don't spare any resource or expense."


  Inmate Death at the Santa Rita Jail 

The death of an inmate at the Santa Rita Jail three years ago is costing Alameda County and its jail health care provider one million to settle a federal lawsuit. The family of Martin Harrison sued the county in 2011 alleging that the 51-year-old was "beaten, repeatedly struck, kicked, brutalized, repeatedly tassed and improperly restrained" by sheriff's deputies inside his cell lock on August 16, 2010. He died two days after the confrontation. 

Alameda County is paying $500K as part of a settlement with Harrison's 10-year-old son. The other half million is coming from Tennessee based Corizon Health, which contracts with the county to provide health services at the jail. Harrison, who was from Oakland, had been arrested several days before his death for failingto appear for a court hearing on a DUI charge. He was a chronic alcoholic but otherwise healthy, said Oakland lawyer John Burris, who represented the 10-year-old son. 

A fight with Alameda County sheriff's deputies, who guard inmates at the Dublin jail, began after Harrison was acting erratically and making a mess of his cell, breaking food trays, screaming and blocking a toilet - behaviors that might have been tied to his severe alcohol withdrawal, according to his family's lawsuit. The Sheriff's office has said Harrison broke free and charged at deputies who were trying to persuade him to move from the cell so it could be cleaned. Two of the officers were placed on administrative leave after the death but were later reinstated after an internal inestigation. 

A deputy who deployed his Taser to shock and subdue Harrison testified in a deposition last year that the inmate had ignored his warnings and moved at him aggressively. He also said Harrison's demeanor in the days before the confrontation was "as somebody who may have been in jail for the first time. Was not hanging around any other inmates."

The lawsuit accused deputies of using extreme and deadly force against Harrison, causing him to be transferred to the jail infirmary and eventually a nearby hospital, where he died after having a heart attack. It also claims he did not get proper medical care from prison health services, which later merged with Corizon.

Four adult children of Harrison are also pursuing their own litigation with the county and Corizon. That case has not been resoved. 



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