Fifth SLO County Jail inmate dies

March 24, 2015
Sheriff Ian Parkinson

Sheriff Ian Parkinson


A 33-year-old man died on Tuesday shortly after deputies found the unresponsive inmate kneeling on the floor of his cell with his head on his cot. He is the fifth man to die while incarcerated in the San Luis Obispo County Jail in 14 months.

The deceased is not being named pending notification of his next of kin.

On March 18, the inmate was arrested for a probation violation and for being under the influence of a controlled substance. At the time of his death, he was housed in a cell that was under video surveillance.

At about 3 a.m., deputies discovered the unresponsive inmate and began to perform CPR. He was transported to a Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

The investigation is ongoing and the sheriff’s department does not suspect wrongdoing. This is the fifth death the San Luis Obispo County Jail in 14 months.

On Jan. 23, 2014, Josey Meche, 28, died from a drug overdose after flailing on a concrete cell floor for more than 20 minutes, according to the coroner’s report. Until he stopped moving, deputies offered him no assistance.

In March 2014, Rudy Joseph Silva, 35, was discovered unconscious in his cell. He was transported to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center where he died of influenza and a staphylococcus infection four days later. Jail mates claim he was sick for several days with coughing fits, but did not receive the medical care he pleaded for until he was no longer conscious.

On May 30, 2014,Timothy Richard Janowicz, 29, was found dead in his cell. Several weeks later, the sheriff’s department sent out a press release saying that Janowicz died of a heroin overdose.

On Dec. 18, 2014,following more than a half dozen records requests, the sheriff’s department released both the autopsy and coroner’s report which describe bruises, gashes and multiple needle marks on Janowicz’ body. In addition, the coroners report says that jail staff had not seen Janowicz for 10 hours even though jail policy is to enter group cells every 30 minutes.

On Jan. 11, 2015, David Osborn, 63, of Morro Bay man died shortly after collapsing while waiting on a bench to see medical personnel. During his time in custody, Osborn regularly complained that his blood sugar was off and that he needed medical care.

As a result, the inmate death rate at the men’s jail, is more than three times the national average. During 2014, three men died in the men’s jail or .54 percent of inmates, while the nation average is .13 percent, according to Federal Bureau of Justice statistics data.

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It’s time to have the Grand Jury look in to what’s going on in the county jail. It’s important to identify the preciser cause of these unusually high number of deaths.

At this point, I’m waiting for the facts before I’ll assign any blame.

I agree with your general position but question whether or not a Grand Jury is the right tool for such an investigation as it is under the direction of the DA’s office which has to work with the Sheriff’s office on a routine basis.

They can cover up a whole grand jury complaint. They do and will

I guess we need to figure out what what County Jail is. DUI, fight in a bar, picked up on an outstanding warrant. Process in, process out, get a ride or make the “walk of shame” to SLO (always amuses me driving up the coast in the early a.m.). I can’t think they’re trained or prepared to be a serious detox intake facility.

Was he facing towards Ka’ba?

Hey I dont want to captain obvious, but if you do drugs you have a good chance of dying.

Once again, it seems Deputies were most likely asleep between lock down and 3:00 A.M. count.

That’s usually the mode of operation for grave yard shifts…

Oh stop being cynical you guys. This inmate was probably just praying a really long time.

I simply need to know what the problem is. Why are these inmates dying? Is it not enough staff? Not the right type of staff? Is it lack of training?

If this guy used heroin in the jail cell, a handy shot of Narcan would have woken him RIGHT up…….if he wasn’t DEAD.

If this jail is going to house inmates for long periods of time, which it IS due to the prison re-alignment, then I do believe the County needs to look at the STAFFING. I also believe someone from “outside” needs to go in and find out why a 33 year old, who is housed alone in a cell being monitored on closed circuit tv hmmm, isn’t watched!!!

There is a guaranteed way NOT to die in county jail…don’t get arrested. Pretty simple.

Wow, didn’t know petty crime = death in your jail cell. We all know too that history proves that all accused inmates are guilty everytime. Well, except OJ. That glove just didn’t fit…….

Get a grip lady. All I said was “don’t get arrested”. I never said anything about petty/serious, guilty/not guilty, crime=death, and whatever else you are babbling about. Never said petty criminals deserve death, never said ALL arrestees are ALWAYS guilty(just 99.97% of the time). Anyway, relax.

Certainly all RNs, are female.

Who said that?

Central coast RN? Get a grip lady? Anyway, relax. All doctors are male….

My point was a simple one really.

The term “in police custody” actually means something. We are taking away an individual’s FREEDOM. Think about that for a minute. That person is no longer in charge of their own destiny for their time in police custody.

When the police/the government decide to essentially take away someone else’s freedom, they shoulder the BURDEN and responsibility to ensure that individual has a basic level of health and safety.

When an inmate is sick, the jail MUST respond in such a way as to reserve basic health and safety. An inmate does not have the right to overdose in the jail, because the inmate no longer “has custody of themself”.

With great power comes great responsibility.

And your response had WHAT to do with your original and my answer?

YOU made that assumption, not me. I assumed it was a woman based on feminine writing style. Relax yourself knucklehead.

Pretty boy Parkinson seems to have an epidemic on his hands. Apparently Human lives aren’t as important as acquiring a new toy boat to play with. Dead bodies 5 – Pangas -0

The sheriffs dept has a new boat they need to pay attention to, how can they be expected to check on an inmate more than every 10 hours?

And they did have him under video surveillance, so they did have something watching him in case something went wrong.

3x the national average for deaths at the jail, now that is something to be proud about Ian.

Between this and the proposition that nutcase is trying to get on the ballot banning sodomy…at least SOMEBODY is trying to thin out the jail population.

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