We’re hearing from the parents of an inmate who died after being in a restraining chair for nearly two days at the San Luis Obispo County Jail.
36-year-old Andrew Holland died in January from a blood clot in his lung shortly after he was released from a chair he’d been strapped to for 46 hours.
Holland suffered from schizophrenia and the Sheriff’s Office said the jail doesn’t have proper facilities for people suffering with mental health issues. Holland’s parents and the attorney on the case recently spoke in a press conference on the situation.
The Holland’s say what they want is change and that mental illness needs to be taken into account while someone is locked up behind bars.
"He was so much fun. He was just a kick to be with. He was a good friend. He loved relationships and we just miss him," said Carty Holland.
It’s been more than six months since Andrew Holland’s death…
"This was my son, it was beyond belief. Beyond belief so we want to make sure his death means more," said Sharon Holland.
The Holland Family Attorney, Paula Canny said at a recent press conference that during Holland’s final minutes in a glass isolation cell, he was gasping for breath and no one did anything to help him.
"It was more than neglect. It was torture," said Sharon.
Holland’s parents have watched the 46 hour long video of their son in a restraining chair leading up to his January 22nd death. It’s footage they want released to the public.
"The truth is– let them decide. Are we making it up? Are we being dramatic or was our son put through a hell you wouldn’t want anyone to go through. Not even anyone you didn’t like, let them decide," said Sharon.
Our public records request of the video and observational and restrain logs were denied. The Holland’s believe changes need to be made within the jail when dealing with those who have mental health issues.
Custodial staff at the jail, they say– need to have more training… in addition, to proper staffing.
"It isn’t believable unless you see it and when you see it at least for me, and I was watching my son die, I couldn’t help but feel such terrible pain for the people doing it, who does that?," continued Sharon.
Looking ahead, they say they want to see change, not just for their son, but for the rest of those still in jail.
"We had lots of plans. A fun life and a wonderful life with him. We didn’t plan on his dying and having to work the rest of our lives but that’s now it seems what the right thing to do is," Sharon added.
"That is really our concern right now– if the leadership of our jail isn’t even aware of the horrificness of their acts then we have to stay engaged," concluded Carty.
The Holland’s say they are waiting for the release of funds of their $5,000,000 settlement with the County of San Luis Obispo. Andrew’s mother says it will go toward the Andrew Holland Foundation to ensure changes will happen at the jail.
When the settlement was announced only July 27th, we reached out to the Sheriff’s Office for comment but they would not go on camera.
They did release a statement saying Holland was under observation and monitored every 15 minutes while he was in the restraining chair.
The FBI is investigating whether or not any civil rights violations occurred in Holland’s death. There have been 11 inmate deaths at the SLO County Jail since 2011.