Milwaukee Co. Board seeks review from sheriff's office after four jail deaths

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Elected officials want the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office to outline what it will do going forward to prevent more people from dying in the county jail. 

The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors voted Thursday to request an in-depth report from the sheriff's office detailing best practices for providing mental health treatment to at-risk inmates, and what goes into the department's current process for deciding when to release documents and evidence related to incidents at the jail.

The vote, which supervisors passed 16-1, came after four people died in the jail over the past year. Supervisor Anthony Staskunas was the only supervisor to vote 'no' on the resolution.

A spokesperson for the sheriff's office did not respond to questions Friday.

Cilivea Thyrion is one of the four people who recently died in the jail. Her parents said they came from Green Bay to attend Thursday's board meeting, and added they were hopeful the review would be just the start of reforming how inmates are treated in county's care.

"I often wondered if my daughter would come back, and now, she's with God, who is keeping her safe from all the trauma, misery and abuse she had to endure her entire life," Thyrion's mother, Kerrie Hirte, said. "So, I'm fighting for her, fighting for change."

Court records show Tyrion was arrested in February 2022 on charges of battery and strangulation. She remained in custody until her death nearly a year later in December. Her death was ruled a probable suicide.

Hirte questioned whether the best place was to hold her daughter pre-trial because Thyrion had a documented history of outbursts and harming herself.

"I believe if they possibly would've moved her to another facility that could care for people who are special needs [she would have lived,]" Thyrion said. "Rather than trying to lock them up in four walls, with seclusion, is not the idea."

The Waukesha County Sheriff's Department handled the investigation of Thyrion's death. Lt. Nicholas Wenzel said in an email Friday investigators had turned over their findings to the Milwaukee County District Attorney's office for review.

Kent Lovern, the county's chief deputy district attorney, said in an email DA's staff met with Thyrion's family and their attorney "several weeks ago" and were still reviewing the case.

On the floor Thursday, Supervisor Felesia Martin said her hope was the review would produce greater transparency from the sheriff's office while ensuring the department was adopting best practices when it came to caring for inmates, especially those on suicide watch.

"One death is too many," Martin said. "Four deaths is egregious and immoral, and we cannot continue to operate this way."

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