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To reduce jail deaths and overdoses, supervisors to take up added pay, improved body scans



The record pace of deaths in San Diego County jails so far this year has driven Nathan Fletcher to help push the Sheriff’s Department toward reform.

The chairman of the county Board of Supervisors plans to ask his colleagues to approve emergency orders aimed at reducing the number of in-custody drug overdoses and improving inmate healthcare.

Fletcher said preliminary data from the county medical examiner indicate that more than 1,300 people countywide accidentally overdosed last year — more than double the number of deaths five years ago.

“Trends in the increase of drug overdoses in the general population are mirrored within the jails,” the board chairman wrote in a letter to supervisors that will be considered Tuesday.

“In 2022, there have been 15 deaths in the jails, and drug overdose has been a significant driver of these deaths.”

The request, which would cost the Sheriff’s Department almost $12 million, would come days after a group of civil-rights lawyers pleaded with a federal judge to impose new safety measures.

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