Monday, August 4, 2014
(Inyo County) Grand Jury offers report
July 30, 2014
Sierra Wave: Eastern Sierra News
By Bob Todd
The Inyo County Grand Jury report for 2013-14 was released earlier this month, giving reports on the Inyo County Jail, the Inyo County Juvenile Detention Facility, the Bishop Police Department, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations (Owens Valley Conservation Camp #26) and Inyo County Water Systems in Lone Pine, Laws and Independence.
The full report is available for download here, and copies of the report are available the Inyo County Clerk’s office in Independence at at county libraries.
Among the findings:
Inyo County Jail: The report mentions AB109, noting the new law “has created new problems in an attempt to reduce overcrowding in state prisons,” and that county jails must take some prisoners from state facilities.
“This has resulted in several local ramifications including inmates serving longer terms, long-term medical care costs, and more sophisticated, career-type criminals … state prison gangs with their criminal experience have begun to spread to the county level.”
The report also states: “Attorneys do not meet with inmates at the jail before trials. Jury trials are often postponed or cancelled at the last minute.” A recommendation says, “In order to save time and money, within the next year, Superior Court judges should establish procedures requiring attorneys to meet with inmates at the jail, prior to setting court dates.”
Inyo County Juvenile Detention Facility: The report states, “The staff has developed meaningful programs including musical instrument lessons, quilting-sewing, bicycle repair, art opportunities, fundamental life skills and a gardening composting program.
“The food preparation staff prepares nutritional meals in a clean, non-commercial kitchen.
“The 24-hour response team and qualified medical personnel provide health care for the detainees.”
Bishop Police Department: The report states, “Although the Bishop Police department has a small force, its duties expand beyond the city limits when requested by other agencies. The 9-1-1 dispatch serves not only the Bishop Police, but also the fire department and paramedics in the Bishop area. Although the dispatch control panel is outdated and needs to be upgraded for more efficient operations, the response from dispatch is extremely quick with excellent services. Currently, the 9-1-1 dispatch needs more trained dispatchers.”
Also issued was a commendation: “Despite being short-handed and using an outdated control panel, the 9-1-1 dispatch has an excellent service history.”
And among the recommendations: By the end of the fiscal year, the City of Bishop will assign a department to conduct a feasibility study for building expansion to enlarge the interview, evidence, intake and locker rooms.”
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations (Owens Valley Conservation Camp #26): Among the findings: “An ongoing problem with contraband exists at the facility. Items such as cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cell phones and gum are often left by friends, family members or recent probationers in areas adjacent to the camp for retrieval, later, by current inmates.”
Also: Supervised inmates can regularly be seen shopping at local stores for camp supplies, which has concerned some citizens. This is part of their rehabilitation and re-integration into society. For safety purposes, correctional officers are required to remain within a certain distance of them while in public … although they are in public, they are still inmates, and, as such, are not allowed to have unauthorized contact with community members: doing so may jeopardize their privilege to live at the camp.”
A recommendation is to conduct a local annual information campaign for public awareness.
Inyo County Water Systems in Lone Pine, Laws and Independence: This is the longest section of the report. Among the recommendations: “Local control of water systems should be on a ‘for profit’ basis to eliminate the burden to the county budget and other taxpayers.”
Also: “Water system management services will submit a five-year plan of upgrades and replacements, based on an in-depth study of all county water operations, by its next annual report.”