Calipatria inmate dies, illicit ‘pruno' alcohol drink is suspected cause

June 25, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

CALIPATRIA — The county Coroner's Office is investigating the possible alcohol-related death this morning of a Calipatria State Prison inmate.

County Coroner Investigator Gary Hayes said a specific cause of death will not be determined until after an autopsy is done this week, but he said an initial investigation indicated alcohol was involved in the death of the 21-year-old inmate.

The inmate's name was not released pending notification of family.

Hayes said the inmate was found unconscious in his cell around midnight.

A spokeswoman for the prison said the inmate was taken to the prison infirmary, where prison medical staff attempted to revive the man.

He was pronounced dead around 1 a.m.

Hayes said it appears the man may have consumed "pruno," an illicit inmate-manufactured alcohol.

He said inmates take fruit such as prunes or fruit cocktail or some other sweet substance, use yeast material such as that from bread to ferment the sweet substance and put it a container.


Hayes said the inmate vomited and may have choked.

The prison spokeswoman said there was no information this morning on whether any alcohol or other drug was found in the inmate's cell.

The investigation into the cause of death is ongoing. Hayes said there appeared to be no other trauma to the inmate or another reason for the death.

Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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