In-custody deaths in Riverside County jails

  • January 9, 2024

With 19 in-custody deaths in 2022, Riverside County experienced the deadliest year in a decade in the county’s jails. The spike in deaths happened as the jails grappled with a national fentanyl crisis and a burgeoning mental health population. The deaths gave the jail the third highest death rate among large California counties in 2022. Of the 16 coroner’s reports reviewed by Black Voice News, ten of the deaths were listed as accidental overdoses or suicides. Several families of people who died in custody in 2022 are suing the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department for negligence and wrongful death. The California state attorney general is investigating the department for allegedly violating the civil rights of incarcerated people. 

This story is a collaboration between the Investigative Editing Corps and Report for America and produced with support from inewsource, a nonprofit investigative newsroom in San Diego.  

Editor: Susan Smith Richardson

Susan Smith Richardson is an award-winning editor with 35
years of experience in news media, including nearly a decade as
a senior executive. She is a former managing editor at the
Guardian US. Before the Guardian, Richardson was CEO of the
Center for Public Integrity.

Richardson has served on juries for the Pulitzer Prize, was a
fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism, and was a
research assistant at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics
and Public Policy at Harvard. Richardson also has a MPA from
Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.