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Jail Populations Are Down. So Why Are Inmate Deaths Up?

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The family of Richard Matus Jr. stands outside the John F. Tavaglione Executive Annex with memorial photos of Richard, who died in-custody of the Riverside Sheriff’s Department in Riverside County. (Jules Hotz/CalMatters)

Fewer people are being held in county jails across California than a decade ago, and yet record numbers of incarcerated people are dying while in custody. Among the leading causes of death are drug overdoses and suicide. Scott talks with CalMatters reporter Nigel Duara, who spent the last nine months looking at the roots of these increased deaths in county jails and what’s being done to address it. 

Read more: California jails are holding thousands fewer people, but far more are dying in them


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