Jail Inmate Dies of Cancer

Written by Estero Bay News

August 25, 2023

Another inmate has died in the custody of the County Sheriff.

Sheriff’s spokesman Tony Cipolla said in an Aug. 8 news release, that two days previous they’d lost one of their inmates to illness.

“An inmate who had been transported to a Hospice Care facility in Fresno County in June,” Cipolla said, “died as a result of a terminal illness; 46-year-old Brett Douglass was booked into custody on March 16, 2023. He was diagnosed with cancer prior to coming into custody.”

Douglass was treated for his cancer at Sierra Vista Hospital, Cipolla said, while he was in custody at County Jail. 

The Sheriff tried to let him go. “Compassionate Release had been sought by the Sheriff’s Office,” Cipolla said, “to allow Douglass to be released from custody pending his terminal status.”

But the courts were not so forgiving. “Approval had not been granted,” Cipolla said, “based on the seriousness of his criminal history, which included charges of a felon in possession of a firearm, and possession of a machine gun.”

On June 6, Cipolla said they transferred him to Hospice Care at Grand Villa Congregate Living Health Facility in Clovis but he was technically still in the Sheriff’s Office custody, Cipolla said.

Douglass died Aug. 6 while under a doctor’s care and while awaiting trial in SLO Superior Court. “His death is classified as an in-custody death for this reason,” Cipolla said. “His family was able to spend time with him prior to his passing.”

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