Tucson, AZ – A crowd of about 60 people slowly converged on the empty plaza and parking lots of Pima County Jail Friday night. At moments the event seemed less like a protest and more like the funeral processions of six fallen youths that converged in a single place and erupted into a furious, atonal chorus of grief and anger.
The Pima County jail reported a decade-high number of deaths in 2021. Amid scrutiny the Sheriff’s Department is facing for the deaths and outcry from advocates and family members of deceased inmates, Supervisor Matt Heinz put a discussion with Sheriff Nanos on the Pima County Board of Supervisors Tuesday’s agenda.
More than 150 people gathered at the Pima County Jail Friday, February 11, 2022 in protest of the deaths occurring in the jail. 21 people have died in the jail in 26 months.
A protest was held outside of the Pima County Adult Detention Complex on Friday, February 11, 2022 following the deaths of twelve people in the jail since January 2021. The protest fell on the birthday of Cruz Patino Jr. III, who died in the jail in August 2021.
In 2021, one person died in Pima County Jail approximately every 31 days – the majority of them young men of color “found unresponsive in their cells.” As of Feb 2, 2022, two more young men of color have already died in the jail.