Weld County Jail latest site of a string of in-custody deaths across the state

Weld County North Jail Complex in Greeley
Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
The Weld County North Jail Complex in Greeley, April, 2020.

The recent death of a person in custody at the Weld County Jail is under investigation.

The Weld County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release that the unnamed inmate experienced a medical event at the facility Tuesday at 12:20 p.m. Medical personnel treated him on-site. He was later transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead at 8:44 p.m. The cause of death was not released.

The 19th Judicial Critical Response Team, or CIRT, spokesperson Melissa Chesmore said in an emailed statement that there will be no further information released this time because it’s an active investigation.

The death of this person is one in a recent string of in-custody deaths throughout the state. It also comes after the announcement that the county sheriff was trying to fill staffing holes at the jail. 

The Weld County Sheriff’s Office announced in March that it would scale back on services to address the staff shortage at the jail. Animal services were temporarily suspended. Other calls would be handled by phone or through the online reporting system on a case-by-case basis. Staff members in other departments were temporarily relocated to the jail.

Jefferson and El Paso counties have also seen deaths of people being held in their jails. JeffCo Jail has had three in-custody deaths since last December. The most recent death occurred on March 25 when a female failed to come out of her cell for breakfast after experiencing breathing problems.

The former health care provider for the El Paso County Jail is facing multiple lawsuits in Colorado’s U.S. District Court relating to in-custody deaths. WellPath is contracted to provide health care to multiple jails throughout Colorado and the country.

The company also provided health care for the JeffCo Jail. Those contracts were recently terminated and picked up by VitalCore Health Strategies. The Kansas-based company is also facing multiple lawsuits in several states.