San Diego Sheriff’s Department

31-Year-Old Man Found Dead at San Diego Central Jail

From 2006 to 2020, 185 fatalities were reported in the seven detention centers SDSO oversees

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A man died while in custody at the San Diego Central Jail, law enforcement said Friday.

The 31-year-old inmate was found unresponsive, "slumped over" near a partition in a holding cell on the second floor of the jail around 6 p.m., according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Office.

NBC 7's Dana Griffin spoke to the father of a man who died in custody about that can change in San Diego jails.

The man, whose name was withheld, was pronounced dead at 6:28 p.m., despite lifesaving procedures — including administering Naloxone, a drug that, according to the National Institutes for Health, "rapidly reverses an opioid overdose."

Homicide detectives are investigating the incident. The San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office is expected to perform an autopsy Friday to determine the cause of death.

There have been nine sheriff’s department in-custody deaths this year. All have happened since a state audit was released earlier this year. Eight of the nine happened at detention facilities/jails; the ninth was at a hospital.

In February, the California State Auditor released a scathing report that said San Diego County Sheriff’s Department failed to prevent deaths at local jails.

From 2006 to 2020, 185 fatalities were reported in the seven detention centers SDSO oversees – among the highest total deaths in the state. The audit concluded there were inadequate safety checks by deputies and that many inmates did not receive timely medical and mental health care.

In response to the report, SDSO said it would make the following changes:

  • Upgrade wireless systems at all county jails to connect to health care systems
  • All in-custody deaths to be reviewed internally and by a citizens review board. They will also be made public
  • Body-worn cameras will be implemented at Las Colinas Women’s Detention Center
  • Hands-on medical and mental health checks
  • Upgrades to the George Bailey Detention Center

On Friday, the sheriff's department said that the Citizens Law Enforcement Review Board had been notified about the latest jail death.

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