The Pima County Jail Death Machine: Another Life Taken and More Money Budgeted


Contact: No Jail Deaths Coalition | | NoJailDeaths.Com

TUCSON, Arizona– Another life has been stolen by the Pima County Jail and Sheriff’s Department. On Friday, May 13th, 42-year-old Alejandro Romo was “found unresponsive” in his cell. This is the 13th death in the Pima County Jail since January 2021.

Alejandro ‘Alex’ Romo

Last year, the jail had a mortality rate more than three times the national average with an average of one person dying behind its walls every 38 days. As with so many others who have died in the jail, the Pima County Sheriff’s Department has released almost no information regarding the circumstances surrounding Mr. Romo’s death.

This month, Sheriff Nanos met with the Pima County Board of Supervisors to request an increase in funding for his department, giving vague reasoning to what the money would be used for. He believes that an increase in funding, staff, and invasive body searches would fix the “problem.”

However, we know that no amount of funding or reform will improve the jail or prevent deaths. We know that jails are inherently violent and traumatic. We know that the only way to truly keep our community safe is to shut down the jail and divest from the violent system of punishment and incarceration.

Underlying societal weaknesses like lack of housing, job opportunities, and affordable child care, just to name a few, all make our community members vulnerable and more likely to experience incarceration. Any available funding needs to be put towards providing services to help support and stabilize our neighbors, not better incriminate them.

No money for destructive bandaids, we need to fix the root causes.

As Sheriff Nanos, Laura Conover, Mayor Romero, and the City of Tucson continue to push the narrative that Tucson is a progressive city, the continued deaths at the Pima County Jail show a clear contradiction. The Jail and Sheriff’s Department have inflicted irreversible damage on our communities, especially on the loved ones of those who have passed away in the jail.

Please join us in honoring Mr. Romo by opposing this violent and oppressive jail that has robbed our communities of 13 lives in 17 months.

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