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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Family of Man Who Died In Jail Custody Presents Demands

Posted By on Wed, Dec 16, 2015 at 12:40 PM

  • Flickr/Exalthim
In July, Alameda County jail inmate Mario Martinez died of what his family says was a preventable asthma attack.

Martinez, 29, who was in custody on drug and attempted murder charges, died after complaining of difficulty breathing on July 15 at Santa Rita Jail near Dublin.

Martinez's mother, Tanti Martinez, told the Contra Costa Times in August that Martinez “would still be alive if he had received court-ordered treatment for nasal polyps that obstructed his breathing.”

She blames failings of Corizon Correctional Healthcare, the company that Alameda County pays $237 million to be the health care provider for its jails — and that also donated to the campaign of Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley.

This afternoon, more than 50 local activists and religious leaders plan to gather outside the Alameda County Board of Supervisors office in Oakland to call for “accountability and transparency not just in Martinez’s death but in the entire Bay Area criminal justice system,” according to the Oakland Community Organization.

According to the group:

Martinez died from an asthma attack in Santa Rita Jail in July. His death could have been prevented through a simple outpatient surgery, but Corizon Correctional Healthcare, Alameda County’s in-custody health care provider, ignored three court orders to provide that surgery.

Despite an abysmal track record for inmate care, which resulted in 660 lawsuits across the nation and expulsion from a number of states, Corizon received $237,000,000 in no-bid contracts from the Sheriff and Board of Supervisors in Alameda County. Mario’s untimely death, as a result of Corizon's willful negligence, has caused an uproar in the community, inspired the formation of the Justice for Mario coalition and inspired a larger examination of ineffective criminal justice system practices in Alameda County.

Representatives for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department, which operates the jail, have confirmed that a judge ordered Martinez to see a physician but have denied wrongdoing. According to their account, Martinez was seen by a nurse and died 12 minutes after requesting emergency care.

Last month, attorney John Burris (who on Friday sued San Francisco on behalf of the family of Mario Woods, the 26-year old Bayview man shot to death by police on Dec. 2) filed a wrongful death claim against Alameda County, and activists have so far collected nearly 1800 online signatures calling for both the county’s board of supervisors and sheriff to:
  • Begin an open and transparent investigation into the death of Mario Michael Martinez, including the immediate suspension of deputy sheriffs who were in the pod at the time of Mario’s death, until the conclusion of the investigation.

  • Immediately cancel of Corizon Health Inc.’s contract with Alameda County detention facilities, including Santa Rita Jail and Glenn E. Dyer Detention Facility.

  • Immediately audit of the Sheriff’s practices and protocols relating to: responses to grievances and support of those being held who suffer from chronic medical issues, etc.
Tanti Martinez and supporters will rally today at 3 p.m. 
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Doug Brown


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