Another inmate dies at Snohomish County Jail
EVERETT - The Snohomish County Jail immediately began responding to suggestions resulting from a federal review of jail conditions this past fall.
The jail is facing scrutiny after nine inmates have died while in custody since 2010.
The jail cut overcrowding through booking restrictions and beefed up its medical staff. Medical professionals also now review every inmate during the booking process to determine if the inmate really belongs in jail or should go to the hospital or a mental health triage center.
On Jan. 12, the jail reported its ninth inmate death.
Lindsay Kronberger, 24, died in the jail’s medical unit after being booked into jail on Jan. 7. She was being checked on every half hour, Snohomish County Jail spokeswoman Shari Ireton said.
Jail officials will conduct a morbidity review. The Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office has yet to release Kronberger’s cause of death as of late last week. Kronberger had been in an out of jail the past few months for drug possession and most recently on a domestic violence dispute.
Kronberger is the ninth inmate death at the jail since 2010. The string of high-profile deaths is why then-Sheriff John Lovick asked for national authorities to evaluate jail conditions.
During November, the jail temporarily stopped taking in inmates with misdemeanor charges except for mandatory domestic violence charges and DUIs. The restrictions were lifted Nov. 22 for Snohomish County law enforcement, but the restrictions still apply to outside agencies.
The restrictions helped bring the jail down to an average daily population of between 940 and 1,000 inmates, Ireton said.
Before the restrictions, there was usually an average of 1,000 inmates on any given day, which was almost at the threshold of functionally full.
Most of the recommendations were swept into action by Sheriff Ty Trenary, who has three separate reviews of his jail on hand to work with.
Professionals from the National Institute of Corrections, a branch of the U.S. Department of Justice, examined jail conditions during two reviews in August and September. Trenary also called on Pierce County Jail officials for recommendations.
NIC officials wrote the jail immediately had to cut overcrowding to adequately provide inmate health and safety and chastised officials over how the jail was mishandling some mentally ill inmates. The officials also made pointed criticisms on the jail’s dirtiness and called the medical team understaffed.
During one of the NIC reviews, the team zeroed in on one mentally ill inmate who was held in a booking observation cell for three days but never booked to enter the jail. The examiners were told the jail had no holding space available for him and staff didn’t want to move him because it would probably require force.
This shouldn’t happen again with less overcrowding and with the medical screenings at booking time, Ireton said.
The jail faces lawsuits from the families of two of the inmates who died. Both were in their 20s and the lawsuits allege their medical needs went unattended.
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