After Utah Inmate Dies of Starvation, Jail To Act Quickly in Similar Cases


The Salt Lake County sheriff said his jail is making it easier to force-feed after an inmate died of starvation and dehydration this winter, says the Salt Lake Tribune. Sheriff Jim Winder said any staff member who realizes an inmate isn't eating can inform superiors, who then notify health professionals and quickly determine how to proceed. If professionals and jail administration decide the inmate needs to be force-fed, jail staff will pursue a court order.

The previous procedures required specific staff to make note of a hunger strike and initiate a staff discussion about how to proceed. Winder said the old procedures for force-feeding appear to have been designed for rational inmates who launch hunger strikes as a form of protest. “In the future we will be acting much quicker,” Winder said. Carlos Umana, 20, who was awaiting trial on attempted murder charges, died at the jail on Feb. 27. Umana was 5 feet 3 inches tall and at least 180 pounds when he entered jail in late October. He weighed 77 pounds at his autopsy.

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