Spencer Swearnger (Full Name: Spencer Wayne Swearnger) Died Following Medical Emergency at Dallas County Jail
DALLAS COUNTY, TEXAS (November 22, 2023) - A 52-year-old inmate identified as Spencer Swearnger has tragically died following a medical emergency at a Dallas County jail.
Dallas County officials are saying that the incident began on November 11. He was being held by the Dallas County Sheriff's Department. Spencer Swearnger was transported to the Parkland Hospital for a medical condition.
Doctors and medical staff treated him at the hospital. Sadly, his condition continued to deteriorate and Spencer Swearnger was pronounced dead on November 15.
His custodial death report said that he was being restrained by leg shackles in the moments leading up to his death or medical emergency. A full investigation remains ongoing at this time.
Liability For Dallas County Inmate Deaths
Thousands of inmates die in custody each year. According to the UCLA Behind Bars Data Project, “In 2020, at least 6,182 people died in U.S. prisons. This is a 46% increase in the lives lost behind bars from 2019, despite a 10% decrease in the overall prison population.” Texas, in particular, has an unfortunately high number of inmate deaths. There are a number of factors that can contribute to inmate deaths.
- Inmate deaths are more likely to take place when jails are overcrowded.
- Inmate deaths are more likely to take place when correctional officers are poorly trained.
- Inmate deaths are more likely to take place when inmates do not get thorough medical screenings upon admission.
When a person is incarcerated, certain constitutional standards must apply at the jails holding them. For instance, inmates must receive reasonably adequate care for all of their medical conditions. This includes care for chronic health conditions and acute emergencies such as drug overdoses. When jails are deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of an inmate, this could form the basis of a constitutional claim. There are many ways that a jail may have acted with deliberate indifference.
- A jail may have failed to give an inmate the medication that they needed.
- A jail may have failed to transport an inmate to the hospital when they required additional care.
- A jail may have disregarded the instructions given to them by a medical provider.
Jails can be truly awful places. Inmates are exposed to a number of stressors which can make their pre-existing conditions worse. One of the most common ways that jails mistreat inmates is to ignore their medical needs. In some situations, this could easily lead to a death. The family of any person that died in-custody may have legal recourse through a constitutional claim. A civil rights attorney can examine all of the unique facts of your case and let you know what your legal options are.
Investigating Dallas County Inmate Deaths
We at Scott H. Palmer, P.C. extend our deepest condolences to the family of Spencer Swearnger. There needs to be a thorough investigation for the sake of this man’s family. It is our hope that greater oversight of jails across Texas can help prevent other tragedies like this.
Do you need more information about a Dallas County inmate death? Our team of civil rights attorneys are here to help in any way that we can. We care deeply that inmates are aware of their rights and that jails are doing everything that they can to keep inmates safe. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of support we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at 214-987-4100.