Inmate Lawrence Gutierrez Died Shortly After Being Released From The Harris County Jail
HARRIS COUNTY, TEXAS (September 27, 2023) - An inmate identified as Lawrence Gutierrez has tragically died after medical complications while staying at the Harris County Jail.
Harris County Jail officials are saying that an inmate was in some type of medical distress. Lawrence Gutierrez was transported to the hospital in order to receive additional care.
Jail officials are claiming that he was technically released after being transported. Sadly, Lawrence Gutierrez’s health continued to deteriorate during his stay and he later died at the hospital.
Advocates are saying that the Harris County Jail is attempting to cover up the number of inmate deaths in their care. As of mid-September 2023, 13 other inmates have died while in custody at the Harris County Jail.
A full investigation into all of the deaths remains ongoing at this time.
Liability For Harris County Jail Inmate Deaths
The Harris County Jail has been plagued by scandals and allegations of inmate neglect for some time. According to Fox 26 Houston, “The jail has failed two inspections in the last year and is now facing an escalated enhanced enforcement from the Commission's office. FOX 26 has reported on the facility's non-compliance due to in-custody deaths, staffing issues, overcrowding of inmates, and holding inmates in excess of 48 hours through the booking process.” There are many steps that all jails should take in order to prevent inmate deaths.
- Correctional officers should be trained to spot the signs that an inmate is in medical distress.
- Jail staff should have easy access to Narcan, which can be used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
- Jails should be adequately staffed.
- Jail officials should do everything that they can to prevent contraband from entering the prison system.
Every inmate has a constitutional right to receive reasonably adequate care for their medical conditions. The level of care that an inmate may need will depend on their unique health profile. Some inmates may need treatment for chronic health conditions while others may only need occasional checkups. If a jail is deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of an inmate, this could form the basis of a constitutional claim. A jail may have neglected an inmate’s medical needs in many different ways.
- A jail may have neglected to send an inmate to the hospital when they needed follow up care.
- A jail may have failed to help an inmate in the midst of a drug overdose.
- A jail may have failed to address the mental health needs of inmates with thoughts of self harm.
It can be hard to know where to begin after any in-custody death. To make matters worse, the Harris County Jail and other jails have demonstrated time and time again that they will not be transparent about the factors that contribute to inmate deaths. It is important for inmates and their families to understand that they do have rights guaranteed under the constitution. A civil rights attorney can examine the unique facts of your case and let you know what your legal options are.
Investigating Harris County Jail Inmate Deaths
We at Scott H. Palmer, P.C. extend our deepest condolences to the family of Lawrence Gutierrez. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. So many people have died at this prison in recent months. State officials need to take action and implement tangible measures to prevent other tragedies like this.
Do you need more information about an in custody death at the Harris County Jail? Our team of civil rights attorneys are here to help in any way that we can. We are committed to helping inmates understand their rights and holding jails accountable for their constitutional violations. Whether you just have legal questions or need a free, independent investigation into any particular incident we may be able to assist you. You are always welcome to reach out to us anytime at 214-987-4100.