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Adam Adams Killed By Cellmate At West Valley Detention Center

56-Year-Old Inmate Adam Adams of Upland Died After Being Found Unresponsive At The West Valley Detention Center In Rancho Cucamonga

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CALIFORNIA (May 22, 2023) – A 56-year-old inmate from Upland identified as Adam Adams was allegedly killed by his cellmate at the West Valley Detention Center.

San Bernardino County officials are saying that the incident began around 5:00 a.m. on Sunday. Adam Adams was found unresponsive on the floor of a cell that he shared with a 26-year-old man.

Paramedics were called to the scene in order to help the inmate. Despite life-saving measures, Adam Adams was pronounced dead.

Officials suspect that the victim’s 26-year-old cellmate was behind the fatal attack. He has since been charged with murder. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to San Bernardino County investigators.

Liability For Inmate Assaults At The West Valley Detention Center

Prisons are supposed to be places of rehabilitation. But far too often they descend into Machiavellian institutions where inmates are left to fend for themselves. Gang alliances are likely to thrive in such an environment. As such, inmate on inmate assaults are one of the leading causes of inmate death and injury. According to one report in Mother Jones, “19% of all male inmates in US prisons say they’ve been physically assaulted by other inmates. 21% say they’ve been assaulted by prison staff.” There are a number of steps that prisons can take in order to reduce the occurrence of inmate assaults.

  • Prison guards should be adequately trained.
  • Prisons should be well staffed.
  • Violent inmates should typically be segregated from non-violent offenders.

Inmates have a constitutional right to be housed in prisons that are reasonably safe. Prisons must take action to protect inmates from assaults by guards as well as other prisoners. Depending on the facts of any case, the municipal entity that oversees a prison could be liable if an inmate is attacked by another inmate. In general, a jail is liable if an inmate is attacked by another inmate when correctional officers showed deliberate indifference to the well-being of an inmate. Deliberate indifference occurs when correctional officers have specific knowledge of a risk of serious harm to a prisoner and knowingly fail to take action to prevent the harm. In the Supreme Court case Farmer v. Brennan, there are several other instances where prison officials may be exposed to civil liability for inmate on inmate assaults.

  • Correctional officers failed to implement classification decisions and segregate vulnerable inmates from aggressors.
  • Correctional officers failed to provide protection that was promised to specific inmates.
  • Correctional officers failed to provide protection to inmates on “hit lists.”
  • Correctional officers failed to enforce court orders and consent decrees requiring protection for vulnerable inmates.

A large portion of the inmate deaths that occur each year are preventable. They often occur because prisons value saving money over keeping inmates safe. For example, under-staffing is a common issue in jails that have a high occurrence of inmate on inmate assaults. The family of any inmate that died in custody may have legal recourse through a civil claim. Damages in a civil claim can help cover many of the expenses that come with the sudden loss of a loved one. Sadly, though, jail officials will often do everything in their power to deny liability for the death of an inmate in their care. A civil rights attorney can examine all of the unique facts of your case and let you know what your legal options are.

Investigating In Custody Deaths At The West Valley Detention Center

We at Carrillo Law Firm, LLP extend our deepest condolences to the family of Adam Adams. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. It is our sincere hope that officials at the West Valley Detention Center will consider measures to prevent other tragedies like this.

Have you or someone that you care about been harmed while staying at the West Valley Detention Center? There are a number of laws designed to protect your rights. Our team of highly experienced civil rights attorneys are here for you. We care deeply that inmates are aware of their rights and that prisons are doing everything in their power to protect the constitutional rights of those they care for. Whether you just have legal questions or need a free, independent investigation into any incident we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at 626-799-9375.



Michael works on high-profile cases that have garnered national media attention. His practice today focuses on child sexual abuse cases, police misconduct cases, catastrophic injuries and other wrongful death matters. He is a passionate advocate for his clients including the countless child sexual abuse victims he currently represents.