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Teen Died Of Overdose At Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar

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Troubled L.A. County Juvenile Hall Remains Open After Years of Concerning Reports

SYLMAR, CALIFORNIA (May 9, 2023) – A teenager was found dead following a suspected overdose while staying at the Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar.

Los Angeles County officials are saying that the incident occurred sometime Tuesday morning. A teenager was found unresponsive in his room and was administered Narcan, which is used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

Additional life-saving measures were taken, but the teenager was pronounced dead not long after they were discovered. The incident took place at the Secure Youth Track Facility, which is used to house teens accused of serious and violent crimes.

The probation department of the Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall has not made any public comments on the death so far. There have been numerous reports about rampant drug use at the Secure Youth Track facility in just the past several weeks.

For example, in late February two youths were taken to the hospital or revived with Narcan after overdoses involving fentanyl. Part of the problem is that numerous L.A. County juvenile facilities have been seriously understaffed.

These staffing shortages have typically come with a sharp rise in violence and drug use.

Liability For Los Angeles County In Custody Overdose Deaths

Overdose deaths are far too common in prisons across California. According to the Vera Institute of Justice, “Research has confirmed that overdose is the leading cause of death among people recently released from prisons, as well as the third leading cause of deaths in custody in U.S. jails.” From 2001 to 2018, the number of people who died in state prisons from drug or alcohol intoxication rose over 600%. In particular, many deaths are linked to the synthetic opioid fentanyl. This drug is extremely dangerous and can be 100 times more potent than morphine. There are a number of symptoms commonly associated with a fentanyl overdose.

  • Small and constricted pupils
  • Falling asleep or losing consciousness
  • Slow or shallow breathing
  • Cold or clammy skin
  • Discolored skin (especially in the lips or nails)

Depending on the facts of any case, a jail could be liable for an inmate dying in their care. Jails have a legal obligation to take measures to protect inmates from reasonably foreseeable sources of harm. To that end, jails must do their best to prevent dangerous weapons and drugs from entering the prison. Jails must also provide inmates with appropriate medical care in the event of a medical emergency. When a jail is deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of an inmate, this could form the basis of a negligence claim.

Consider, for example, The Estate of Bernard Victorianne v. County of San Diego. Bernard Victorianne, 28, was arrested for driving under the influence. During the booking process, he told a nurse that he swallowed a bag of meth. The nurse informed police officers that Mr. Victorianne needed prompt medical attention. However, the suspect was placed in solitary confinement after being admitted to jail and was not provided with appropriate medical care. He later died in custody from the effects of the meth overdose. San Diego County eventually settled with his family for $2.3 million. There are a number of steps that should be taken after any in custody death.

  • An autopsy should be performed.
  • Medical records should be preserved.
  • Jail records should be sought.
  • An experienced civil rights attorney should be consulted.

Inmates have inalienable rights afforded to them under the constitution. But in far too many situations, those rights are trampled on by prisons that are run poorly. For profit contractors with the prison often try to save money by cutting back on the care they provide as much as possible. The family of any person that died in custody may have legal recourse through a wrongful death claim. Damages in a civil claim can help cover many of the expenses that come with the sudden loss of a loved one. A civil rights attorney can examine all of the unique facts of your case and let you know what your legal options are.

Investigating Los Angeles In Custody Overdose Deaths

We at Carrillo Law Firm, LLP extend our  deepest condolences to the family of the teenager that died at the Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. County officials need to address the rampant drug use and violence that has been plaguing this facility.

Do you need more information about any in custody death or injury at the Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar? Our team of civil rights advocates are here to answer any questions that you may have. We care deeply that inmates are aware of their rights and that those rights are being protected. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of assistance after any incident we may be able to help you. You can reach out to us anytime at 626-799-9375. Se habla español.



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.