Sunday, July 22, 2012

(Tehama Co) Grand jury gives Tehama jail mixed review

By Julie R. Johnson/Corning Observer

"A clean, well-maintained facility," is how the 2011-12 Tehama County grand jury described the Tehama County Jail in its annual report.

However, it also noted in its findings that "inmates do not have clothing appropriate for winter months," and the "female inmates are not provided equal work opportunities in the jail."

Members of the grand jury made two visits to the jail, the first on Sept. 15 for a tour, inspection of incident reports and grievance statistics, interviews with jail administration, and to study the Inmate Orientation Manual and Corrections Standards Authority report.

During the second visit, on Nov. 22, grand jury members interviewed staff and inmates.

"Living conditions are appropriate and administration is continuously seeking ways to reduce costs, yet provide quality service to the jail population," the grand jury report states,

One of the areas of interest was the impact the state's prison realignment program (AB 109) is having on the jail.

In a report to the grand jury from the jail division, it states the operations at the jail were radically impacted by the implementation of AB 109.

The jail has a bed capacity of 226, with a "rated capacity" of 181, due to the need at times of segregating inmates for safety purposes.

According to the report, since October, as a result of keeping many of the prisoners in the county jail who would normally have gone to state prison, the population in the jail has steadily risen, and at the time the report was written on May 23, the total inmate population count was 218 prisoners.

"Out of those 218 prisoners there are 83 inmates serving terms that would have previously been served in state prison," the report said.

The increased cost of and difficulty in delivering services to the inmate population, including medical services, food services, mental health services and court transport services, has been one of the most severe impacts to the jail as a result of AB 109, according to the report.

Noted in the grand jury's report was jail medications cost approximately $140,000 annually with about $70,000 of that going toward psychiatric medications.

The grand jury offered six recommendations, including developing a plan to reduce medication costs, facilitate the use of a licensed psychiatrist in treating the mentally ill, provide equal work opportunities for male and female inmates and provide the appropriate clothing in winter.

The grand jury Sheriff's Department for responses to these recommendations, as well as the continuing impact of AB 109.

No comments: