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.
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.