Inmate Daniel Foard (Full Name: Daniel John Foard) Died In Custody At The La Plata County Jail In Durango
DURANGO, COLORADO (August 23, 2023) - An inmate identified as Daniel Foard has tragically died after being found unresponsive in his cell at the La Plata County Jail.
La Plata County officials are saying that the incident began around 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Correctional officers found Daniel Foard unresponsive in his jail cell.
Jail staff and medical staff both entered the cell and began life-saving measures. Paramedics were also called to the scene in order to help the inmate.
Despite life-saving efforts, first responders were not able to revive Daniel Foard and he was pronounced dead. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation is working with the sheriff’s office in order to determine a cause of death.
A full investigation remains ongoing at this time.
Liability For Inmate Deaths At The La Plata County Jail
Thousands of inmates die in custody every year. A large portion of these deaths involve people who were never even formally convicted of a crime. According to the UCLA Law 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. The U.S. has seen a significant, continual increase in deaths in prisons over the past two decades, but never before have the country’s prisons seen such a steep increase year-to-year.” There are a number of common causes of inmate death.
- An inmate may die from a drug or alcohol overdose.
- An inmate may die from drug or alcohol withdrawal.
- An inmate may die after falling inside of their cell.
- An inmate may be attacked by another inmate.
Inmates have a number of rights afforded under the U.S. Constitution. Correctional facilities assume responsibility for the safety and health of inmates when it deprives them of their freedoms. To that end, inmates must receive reasonably adequate healthcare. This begins when an inmate is first admitted. They must get a health screening and be given any medications they require. If a jail is deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of an inmate, this could form the basis of a constitutional claim.
Consider, for example, the Estate of Tomas Beauford, et al. v. Correct Care Solutions, et al. In 2014, an inmate with developmental disabilities identified as Tomas Beauford suffered a fatal epileptic seizure in his cell. He was in the pretrial custody of the Mesa County Detention Facility (“MCDF”). The administrator of his estate brought a federal lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 and argued jail officials were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. The county eventually reached a settlement with his family. Several steps should be taken after any in-custody death.
- An independent autopsy may need to be performed.
- Eye witnesses should be interviewed.
- The medical profile of the inmate that died should be understood.
- An experienced civil rights advocate should be contacted.
Jails are supposed to be places of rehabilitation. But far too often, these institutions neglect and mistreat the very people they are charged with caring for. It is common for jail officials to wait until an inmate is in serious medical distress before they will bother to help them. It is important that inmates and their families understand that they do have rights. The family of any person that died in custody may have legal recourse through a civil claim.
Investigating Inmate Deaths At The La Plata County Jail
We at Scott H. Palmer, P.C. extend our deepest condolences to the family of Daniel Foard. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. It is our sincere hope that measures are taken to prevent additional tragedies like this.
Do you need more information about an in-custody death at the La Plata County Jail in Durango? Our team of civil rights attorneys are here to answer any questions that you may have. We care deeply that inmates are aware of their rights and that jails are held responsible 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.