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Legal nonprofit report finds 20 deaths in Spokane Co. Jail in 11 year period

The report by Columbia Legal Services lists 20 deaths in the jail between Jan. 1, 2005 and June 15, 2016. At least eight more have happened since then.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Editor's Note: The above video is a report on the death of Shane Carson in the Spokane County Jail in 2018

A legal nonprofit has released a report on jail deals at county jails around Washington state that lists 20 deaths in the Spokane County Jail from Jan. 1, 2005, to June 15, 2016.

The report, written by Columbia Legal Services, focuses on deaths at county jails across the state. 

"Jail deaths are merely the most egregious examples of systemic failures that injure thousands of people locked up in Washington every year," the report reads.

The report lists 20 deaths in the Spokane County Jail in the time period they studied. There have been at least eight record deaths since the end of that period.

RELATED: Inmate screamed for an hour before death in Spokane Co. Jail, witness says

The report also found that Spokane County spends $43,000 per detainee each year, while Spokane Public Schools spends $11,700 per student each year.

Statewide, 17 people died a year on average in county jails in the period Columbia Legal Services reviewed. Most people died within the first days after being booked, and drugs or alcohol played a significant role in many of the deaths, with the reviewed called "by and large avoidable."

One specific death mentioned by the report in Spokane is that of 33-year-old Christopher Parker. Identified by his initials, Parker died in the jail after being restrained in a chair with a blood sugar level over 2,000. The report said this blood sugar level was enough to cause death, coma or hallucinations. The report also said he was put in a headlock and tased.

Of those 20 deaths, five were suicides, according to the report.

One death since the report's 2016 end date was that of Shane Carson. KREM discovered through a records request that other inmates told investigators Carson needed help before he died. The records also said an inmate present at the time told his wife via phone that Carson called for help for an hour without being provided treatment.

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