After 4 deaths in custody in 11 months, Milwaukee County Board to require Sheriff's Office to detail issues at jail

NOW: After 4 deaths in custody in 11 months, Milwaukee County Board to require Sheriff’s Office to detail issues at jail

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors wants information and answers from the Sheriff's Office after four people have died in the past 11 months while in custody at the jail.

Cilivea Thyrion died by suicide last December while in custody, just days after her birthday. Her mother doesn't want it to happen to any other family.

7th District Supervisor Felesia Martin said, "One death is too many, four deaths is egregious and immoral."

The County Supervisors said the Sheriff's Office is grossly understaffed, and long hours and burnout have contributed to some of the conditions that have led to deaths.

Supervisor Felesia Martin said when some jail employees work 20-hour shifts, "Unfortunately, these types of incidents will happen."

It happened on December 16, 2022.

Thyrion had turned 20 four days prior. She was on suicide watch while in custody at the county jail but was still able to take her own life.

Her mother Kerrie Hirte said, "It's been very hard as a mom."

Hirte claimed conditions at the jail were unsafe for her daughter, saying, "I often wondered if my daughter would come back, and now she's with God."

She began pushing for changes, urging the Sheriff's Office to be more transparent. Hirte said, "So that when situations like this happen, that we're able to get more information quicker. Rather than it taking possibly a year, maybe longer."

The County Board credited her "fierce advocacy" with moving them to act. The board voted this week to have the Sheriff's Office deliver six separate reports. They will detail the jail's organizational structure, policies for mental health assessments, suicide prevention, staff training and how at-risk people are monitored, to name a few.

4th District Supervisor Ryan Clancy said, "When that report comes back, asking actual questions and demanding actual change, so that we do not have another death in custody at the jail."

The board's goal is to address long-standing issues and unacceptable conditions. But members also want to remember the human element, especially for those who died.

Martin said, "Those were actual beings that are no longer here to share a smile, or even a tear with their families."

The board called for the reports by a 16-1 vote. They're expected to be delivered in July of this year.

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