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posted 11/30/2015

On August 27, 2015, sheriffs at the Santa Clara County Main Jail found a 31-year-old inmate with a history of mental illness dead in his cell. His body was covered in feces and vomit. The medical examiner concluded that the man, Michael Tyree, died of internal bleeding from blunt force trauma.

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2008 Excellence in Radio Reporting Award - awarded by Sacramento Press Club

Julie Small's Blog

On August 27, 2015, sheriffs at the Santa Clara County Main Jail found a 31-year-old inmate with... more »
posted 11/30/15

Julie Small's Work

Two reporters set out to answer a question: Was the horrific death of a mentally ill inmate in a California jail an anomaly or evidence of systemic deficiencies that could lead to more deaths?
There have been more than two dozen San Diego County jail suicides between 2010 and 2015, well above average. The suicides highlight a national problem: the increasing number of mentally ill people landing in jails.

“We were really struck by the fact that people were incredibly acute in their need,” a disability rights attorney said after touring Sonoma County's main jail. “Higher than we’ve seen in units that are licensed designated hospital units. Something was wrong here.”