A front page article in the Sacramento Bee on June 2, 2014, “Deaths underscore record of poor medical care at Sutter County Jail,” discusses the preventable deaths of Nathan Prasad and Rodney Bock and how the families of both men brought lawsuits against Sutter County to shine a light on what happened to their loved ones and improve medical and mental health care at the facility.
Both the Prasad and Bock cases, which are being handled by lawyers at RBGG including associates Aaron Fischer and Kathryn Mantoan, were recently settled, with the County agreeing to pay the families $775,000 and $800,000 respectively and to address some of the most serious deficiencies in care of prisoners. So far, according to the Bee, the medical staff has been increased and training has been strengthened, although efforts to get 24/7 healthcare at the jail have been stalled for lack of funding.
On behalf of the families, RBGG will soon be submitting additional recommendations to Sutter County officials about improvements to the jail’s provision of medical and mental health care to inmates, in order to prevent these sorts of unnecessary tragedies in the future.
Both families submitted Letters to the Editor of the Bee in response to the story. The letter from Mary and Tom Prasad of Colusa, “Changes at Sutter County Jail long overdue,” says in part: “Our son Nathan’s death was a tragedy, and it was preventable. While nothing can bring Nathan back, our sincerest hope is that the lawsuit over his death and recent press coverage regarding conditions at Sutter County’s jail will lead to real changes, so no other family will have to endure what we have endured.”
The letter from Rodney Bock’s four daughters, Kellie, Kim, Hillary and Morgen, “Our dad deserved better,” states: “Our dad, Rodney Bock, was a successful farmer and businessman for 30 years, and the best father we could ask for . . . . When he committed suicide, we were devastated. He should have been in a hospital, not a jail cell. The jail lacked, and still lacks, adequate psychiatric staff. There is no procedure in place for family members to communicate to jail staff about their loved ones’ psychiatric needs. These problems must be fixed.”
According to RBBG’s Michael Bien as quoted in the Bee article: “It’s hard to get people to spend money on people in the criminal justice system; that’s just a fact of life. Here’s two people who died unnecessarily because too little attention is given to basic, fundamental care of people who are incarcerated.”