Released: August 31, 2021 - Tuesday, 05:06 PM

DOJ Concludes CRIPA Investigation at County Jail

Contact: Tony CipollaPhone: (805) 781-4547Date and time of incident: 8-31-21Place of Occurrence: County JailVictim Information: N/ASuspect Information: N/AThe Sheriff’s Office acknowledges the report that was issued today by the Department of Justice regarding its three-year civil rights investigation at the County Jail. That report stated the Jail failed to provide adequate medical and mental health care to inmates among other deficiencies.
In that report, the Sheriff’s Office was commended for its cooperation with the Department of Justice during the course of its investigation.
We recognize the issues and concerns brought forth in the DOJ report. However, the report fails to take into account the many remedial measures undertaken by the Sheriff’s Office since 2018 when the investigation began. The following are changes made to date, to name only a few:
1. Named an “Innovator County” for the Stepping Up Initiative for work in reducing the number of days individuals with serious mental illness are in County Jail.
2. Started a Jail Based Competency Treatment Program to restore patients with serious mental illness to competency to avoid long Department of State Hospital wait times.
3. Created the Behavioral Health Unit (BHU) and Kansas Max Housing Unit which provide dedicated space to treat and house patients with special needs, including chronic medical and mental health problems.
4. Expanded medical, mental health, and dental care under Wellpath, a correctional health care company, now in year 3 of its contract with San Luis Obispo County.
5. Progressing ahead of schedule with Americans with Disabilities Act Improvements per a recent settlement agreement.
6. Initiated a Compliance Unit including the Chief Medical Officer position and increased staffing.
7. Implemented a 40-hour Crisis Intervention Training among other tactical and administrative topics for all staff.
Additionally, the report claims some inmates were subjected to an excessive use of force. Jail leadership takes complaints seriously. Any allegation of inappropriate force has been investigated by the Professional Standards Unit and any instances of sustained complaints have resulted in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
"The Sheriff's Office has worked cooperatively with the Department of Justice over the past 3 years to investigate deficiencies and determine appropriate improvements to ensure our Jail facility is fully compliant with federal law," said Sheriff Parkinson. "We are pleased with our progress so far and will continue to work diligently to provide a safe and secure Jail facility.”