$1.7 million verdict for inmate’s untreated cancer

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California prison inmate’s family wins jury award after his death

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A Los Angeles jury has awarded the family of a deceased prison inmate almost $2 million. His survivors had sued claiming that the man’s cancer went untreated while he was in custody.

Five years ago, Francisco Castaneda spent four months in a Kern County state prison for methamphetamine possession. That prison turned him over to federal immigration authorities who detained the Salvadoran in a San Diego facility.

In both places, he complained about growths and lesions on his penis and asked for medical attention. He received pain pills and clean underwear but not a biopsy – even after a doctor at the state prison recommended one.

Castaneda’s family maintains that the state and federal institutions ignored his symptoms until he needed an amputation. Two years ago – after he’d testified to a U.S. House committee – the 36-year-old man died.

His family alleged negligence and sued the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Lawyers for that agency said Castaneda’s cancer was untreatable, but a jury disagreed. It awarded his 17-year-old daughter $1.5 million, plus medical expenses.

Attorneys for the state have not indicated whether they’ll appeal the jury award. The family’s lawsuit against federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement is scheduled to go to court next year.



2 thoughts on “$1.7 million verdict for inmate’s untreated cancer

  1. The medical aspects of prisons need help. They are so inhumane. The inmates are people too. My boyfriend is a known epileptic and on meds since he was 14. He’s now 53. On SSI and Disability. His experience on medical stories in prison … In Jan. 2010 He was rushed to the hospital for emergency gall bladder removal after 2 weeks in the hospital he was sent back and was given double his normal doses for the seizures They told him to take it anyway and nothing for pain.. Well the next day while walking to chow he fell. His injuries from the fall for over medicating was more severe than his original surgery. It consisted in a broken left wrist in 3 places, a cracked rib, they had to remove his right eye to place a metal bar under the eye to hold it in the socket. His shoulder is still messed up (since Jan of this year 2010) Still no pain pills or therapy.


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