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Articles by Ryan Gabrielson

A Jail Increased Extreme Isolation to Stop Suicides. More People Killed Themselves.

The Kern County, CA Sheriff’s Office places hundreds of people into suicide watch each year. They’re held for days or weeks in rooms without mattresses and sometimes toilets. The state can’t stop it.

by Jason Pohl, The Sacramento Bee, and Ryan Gabrielson, ProPublica

This article was produced in ...

California Tried to Fix Its Prisons. Now County Jails Are More Deadly

In a 48-hour stretch during January 2018, three men were booked into the Fresno County Jail. One was beaten into a coma. Two died soon afterward. Their cases kicked off a nightmarish year in a local jail where problems trace back to California’s sweeping 2011 prison downsizing and criminal justice reforms.

by Jason Pohl, The Sacramento Bee, and Ryan Gabrielson, ProPublica

On the night of January 17, 2018, Lorenzo Herrera walked into the Fresno County Jail booking area and sat down for an interview. Yes, he had a gang history, an officer wrote on his intake form. But Herrera, 19, said he did not expect problems with others inside the gang pod he’d soon call home.

His parents had encouraged him to barter for books and newspapers – anything he could to preoccupy himself until his trial on burglary and assault charges. His father, Carlos Herrera, offered advice: “Just be careful, and only trust yourself.”

Herrera survived the violent chaos of the Fresno County Jail for 66 days, including living through a brawl that left another prisoner unconscious. Then, on an afternoon in March, jail officers found him strangled.

Herrera didn’t get a trial or a plea deal. He got a ...