(COLORADO SPRINGS) — A group known as the Colorado Springs Peoples Coalition (CSPC) led a protest on Saturday, Oct. 15 in front of the El Paso County Jail concerning the number of inmate deaths that have taken place in 2022.
CSPC joined the family of Dezaree Archuleta at the protest, who died at the jail in June. Archuleta’s death was one of eight deaths in 2022 at the El Paso County Jail, according to a report sent to FOX21 News by Lieutenant Deborah Mynatt, Public Information Officer for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (EPSO).
According to Mynatt, the most recent death was Felicia Hudson, 58, who died on Oct. 14. “We cannot stress enough that every single case has had an impact and they are not taken lightly,” said Mynatt.
According to Mynatt, the jail conducts a “Critical Incident Review” after each critical incident at the jail, such as the death of an inmate.
“These reviews are comprehensive, examining all aspects of the response to the emergency, as well as relevant factors surrounding inmate medical care leading up to the event when appropriate. The review allows the Sheriff’s Office to determine how operations may be improved, and what operations are working well, with specific focus in the areas of policy, equipment, communications, and training.”Lieutenant Deborah Mynatt, Public Information Officer for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office
Mynatt also made clear that “If a death is a result of a Use of Force, or if the Sheriff requests, the El Paso Sheriff’s Office will reach out to our local agency partners to conduct a 3rd party investigation.”
According to Mynatt, Archuleta’s death was the only death at the jail in 2022, that was ruled a suicide by the El Paso County Coroner’s Office.
In September of 2022, the TRUST team was launched by EPSO, which “is instrumental when an inmate is in a behavioral health crisis or competency involvement within the jail. They not only provide a response to when an inmate is in crisis, but they will follow-up to ensure a continuum of care and access to resources are provided.”
According to Mynatt, the TRUST team was not involved in the eight deaths at the jail in 2022, as it was launched in September.
EPSO has a contract with WellPath Medical which “manages immediate concerns from inmates pertaining to mental health care.” Mynatt also said that the TRUST program can be used for inmates in need of counseling or crisis response.
“Inmates can request mental health care throughout their stay in the facility,” Mynatt said.
FOX21 News requested and was provided with a list of inmate deaths for 2022 at the El Paso County Jail. Mynatt provided a list of each inmate to FOX21 News who had died at the jail during the specified time frame including; name, age, manner and cause of death, and the date of each death.
Inmate deaths at the El Paso County Jail since January 1, 2022:
Feb. 15, 2022: Williams, Sean, age 32, Manner and Cause of death: Natural – Lymphocytic encephalitis)
Mar. 17, 2022: Gibbs, Laura, age 41, Manner and Cause of death: Accident – Hypertensive Cardiovascular Disease, Polysubstance abuse, and obesity in the setting of methamphetamine and recent heroin intoxication
Mar. 25, 2022: Eckhoff, Leroy, age 74, Manner and Cause of death: Natural – Hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease
Apr. 26, 2022: Canett, Cristo, age 48, Manner and Cause of death: Natural – Hypertensive cardiovascular disease, polysubstance abuse, and obesity in the setting of meth and recent heroin intoxication
June 9, 2022: Archuleta, Dezaree, age 18, Manner and Cause of death: Suicide
July 3, 2022: Ramirez, Cassandra, age 48, Manner and Cause of death: Accident – Methamphetamine intoxication
July 4, 2022: Murray, Daniel, age 37, Manner and Cause of death: Natural – Chronic alcohol abuse
Oct. 14, 2022: Hudson, Felicia, age 58, Manner and Cause of death: Pending Toxicology report, please contact the Coroner’s Office for more information. On Oct. 18 EPSO said in a press release that the El Paso County Coroner had labeled Hudson’s death “non-traumatic” following an autopsy.