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Protestors Seek Answers From Burley Jail Months After Inmate's Death

Rachel Cohen/Boise State Public Radio
Family members and friends of Thomas Rettew, who died in the Mini-Cassia Criminal Justice Center in January, gathered outside the jail as part of a protest seeking justice for Rettew.

Over the weekend, about 20 people gathered in front of the Mini-Cassia Criminal Justice Center in Burley to protest the death of an inmate that occurred in January.

 

 

Thomas Rettew died of an overdose in a holding cell at the jail after he was arrested for an outstanding warrant related to a probation violation. 

 

“The bottom line is, they let the kid die. That’s all there is to it," said Sam Wilson of Rupert, Thomas Rettew’s step-father. Wilson says the family has received little information about why his step-son’s death wasn’t prevented.

 

Gathered on the sidewalk outside the jail, the group held signs that said “We’re Tommy’s Voice,” and “Justice for Tommy.”

 

“If they broke the law, fine. They’re serving their time," said Wilson. "But they’re still people. They’re still women and men.They’re somebody’s daughter, somebody’s son.”

 

The Twin Falls County Sheriff's Office investigated the January incident and produced a lengthy report detailing the night’s events, as the Times-News first reported. It found Rettew wasn’t checked on for more than two hours, even though a jail policy says inmates who are detoxing should be checked on every 15 minutes. A grand jury in Twin Falls did not lead to any charges.

 

The Mini-Cassia Criminal Justice center did not respond to a request for comment before the deadline for this story.

 

Find reporter Rachel Cohen on Twitter @racheld_cohen

  

Copyright 2019 Boise State Public Radio

I cover environmental issues, outdoor recreation and local news for Boise State Public Radio. Beyond reporting, I contribute to the station’s digital strategy efforts and enjoy thinking about how our work can best reach and serve our audience. The best part of my job is that I get to learn something new almost every day.

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