Inmate Ed Penix, 63, Died In Custody Following Medical Emergency At Bexar County Jail In San Antonio
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS (October 10, 2023) - An inmate identified as Ed Penix has tragically died in-custody after some type of medical emergency at the Bexar County Jail in San Antonio.
Bexar County officials are saying that the incident took place early Tuesday morning. Ed Penix was being housed in the infirmary of the jail due to pre-existing medical conditions.
Correctional officers noticed that the inmate had become unresponsive in his cell. Medical staff checked his vital signs and began life-saving measures before he was transported to the hospital so that he could get additional treatment.
Despite life-saving measures, Ed Penix was pronounced dead at 3:40 a.m. that same day. Now, jail officials are saying that he should not have been placed in the jail in the first place.
According to Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar, “This gentleman should not have been in our custody in the first place. He was homeless, mentally ill, and had major medical issues. Jails are not the appropriate place for people in those situations."
This is the 11th death at the Bexar County Jail so far this year.
Liability For Inmate Deaths In Bexar County
Thousands of people die in custody each year in the United States. According to Statista, “In 2019, the mortality rate for state prisoners in the United States stood at 330 deaths per 100,000 inmates. This is an increase from the previous year, when the mortality rate stood at 347 per 100,000 inmates.” The Department of Justice has estimated that roughly half of the people in U.S. jails have been diagnosed with a mental illness. But far too often jails are ill equipped to properly care for these inmates. There are many factors that could contribute to an in-custody death.
- Inmates may enter a jail with pre-existing medical conditions.
- Inmates may enter a jail while going through an overdose.
- Inmates may not get the mental healthcare that they need after entering a jail.
- Inmates may not get prompt care in the event of a medical emergency.
Every inmate has a constitutional right to receive reasonably adequate care for their medical needs. Despite this, it is common for jails to routinely deny inmates proper care for their serious health needs. This is particularly true for inmates who are suffering from mental illness. If a jail is 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 failed to properly care for an inmate.
- A jail may have failed to give an inmate the medication that they needed.
- A jail may have failed to help an inmate going through an overdose.
- A jail may have failed to treat an inmate’s pre-existing health problems.
- A jail may have failed to treat an inmate going through drug withdrawal.
A large number of inmate deaths are preventable. One of the major factors driving up the number of inmate deaths is overcrowding. When a jail is overcrowded, this can push its health system to the breaking point. Inmates likely won’t get the individual care that they need for their various conditions. 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 Inmate Deaths At The Bexar County Jail
We at Scott H. Palmer, P.C. extend our deepest condolences to the family of Ed Penix. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to police. This man should never have been at this jail in the first place. It is our sincere hope steps are taken to prevent similar tragedies in the future.
Have you or someone that you care about been harmed while staying at the Bexar County Jail? There are a number of laws designed to protect your rights. We are committed to helping inmates understand their rights and holding jails accountable for their unconstitutional actions. 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.