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Updated: Mar 1, 2022

For immediate release

March 8, 2021


The #FreeYuba12 issued the following statement with respect to the untimely death that occured at the Yuba County Jail:

The #FreeYuba12 mourns the loss and we send our condolences to the family and community of Vong Yang, 30, who died while in custody at the Yuba County Jail on Sunday, February 28, 2021. We are saddened, frightened, depressed, and disappointed to hear the news of Mr. Yang’s death through the radio on Monday. We are all human and we deeply care for the well-being of every individual that comes into the jail.

Over a week has passed and jail leadership has yet to notify us in ICE custody that this tragic loss happened within the facility. Our perception is that the jail is attempting to diminish the events that transpired last weekend. Although there is limited public information surrounding Mr. Yang’s death, the #FreeYuba12 believes that one death is too many at the Yuba County Jail.

This could have been any one of us. While detained, many of us contracted COVID-19 due to the jail’s negligence. We constantly checked on each other, yelling across hallways or through walls to monitor each other’s recovery because the jail was not doing so. We fear being separated or in a situation where we are placed in solitary confinement like Mr. Yang. We have been shown time and time again that ICE and Yuba County Jail do not care about our lives, and we fear being in a circumstance like Mr. Yang where we are all alone and the jail just washes its hands of our deaths. We feel disposable to the personnel here.

No matter how many similar incidents happen in this jail, the negligence that occurs under the watch of Captain Garza, Sheriff Anderson, and the Yuba County Board of Supervisors continues to shock the conscience. There is no accountability for any violations or wrongdoings. In fact, Yuba County Jail has been under court supervision for more than 40 years because of the inability to provide proper medical and mental health care. We understand that Mr. Yang was supposed to be under close supervision after he was booked into the jail due to his condition at the time. If the care provided to someone who was supposed to be under close watch was this abysmal, what will happen to us if we have severe COVID-19 symptoms or other urgent medical needs?

We collectively ask and demand:

  1. Timely and accurate updates from the jail about the investigation into Mr. Yang’s death and if, God forbid, something like this were to happen again, we should learn promptly from the jail, not on the radio;

  2. Citations to all of the internal guidelines Yuba County Jail follows to ensure our safety.A statement from the Yuba Board of Supervisors on the death of Vong Yang.

  3. Notification to Congressman John Garamendi and Senator Alex Padillaof this death or an explanation for why these individuals have not been provided with this information.

  4. A clear plan around what accountability Yuba County Jail has taken or will take to address this death.

  5. Immediate and individualized re-evaluation around our continued detention under the Pekoske memorandum.


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