Inmate Yvonne Montoya Died While In Custody At A Jefferson County Jail
JEFFERSON COUNTY, COLORADO (December 9, 2023) - A 35-year-old inmate identified as Yvonne Montoya has tragically died following a medical emergency at a Jefferson County jail.
Jefferson County officials are saying that the incident began on November 6. Yvonne Montoya turned herself in on a charge of driving under the influence.
She was transferred to an off-site work release facility on November 25 and was expected to be released one month later. Correctional officers later noticed that she was unresponsive and began medical assistance.
Sadly, Yvonne Montoya was later pronounced dead by medical staff. Authorities suspect that she may have died due to a drug overdose.
A full investigation remains ongoing at this time.
Liability For Jefferson County Inmate Deaths
Drug overdoses remain one of the leading causes of in-custody deaths in the United States. Fentanyl has proven to be especially dangerous. According to Springer Nature, “Fentanyl and related compounds have recently saturated the illicit drug supply in the United States, leading to unprecedented rates of fatal overdose. Individuals who are incarcerated are particularly vulnerable, as the burden of opioid use disorder is disproportionately higher in this population, and tolerance generally decreases during incarceration.” There are many symptoms commonly associated with an overdose.
- Shallow breathing
- Chest pain
- Abdominal pain
All jails have a legal obligation to protect inmates from reasonably foreseeable sources of harm. That includes harm brought on by a drug overdose. To that end, inmates must receive adequate healthcare. This includes making sure that they have a thorough health screening. When a jail is deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of an inmate, this could form the basis of a constitutional claim. There are a number of steps that jails should take to prevent inmate overdose deaths.
- Correctional officers should have access to Naloxone , which can be used to reverse the effects of an overdose.
- Jail staff should be well trained to identify the signs an inmate is going through an overdose.
- Jails should do everything that they can to prevent illicit drugs from entering the prison system.
- Jails should perform regular welfare checks on inmates.
Overdose deaths in custody are highly preventable. There are often very clear and obvious signs that an inmate is going through an overdose or at risk of going through an overdose. But far too often these signs are overlooked. It is important to determine if any inmate death was the result of medical neglect. The family of any inmate that dies due to the neglect of jail officials may have legal recourse through a civil claim.
Investigating Jefferson County Inmate Deaths
We at Scott H. Palmer, P.C. extend our deepest condolences to the family of Yvonne Montoyal. Any person that may have more information should reach out to authorities. There needs to be some accountability for the sake of the victim’s family. It is our sincere hope that steps are taken to prevent other tragedies like this.
Do you need more information about a Jefferson County inmate death? Our team of civil rights advocates are here for you. We care deeply that inmates are aware of their rights and that jails are held accountable for their neglect. Whether you just have legal questions or need a free, independent investigation into any incident we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at 214-987-4100.