Thursday, June 8, 2017
Grand Jury Report on San Diego County Jails Highlights Need for Improvements
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department runs the county’s jails pretty well, considering the added pressure of the state’s correctional system realignment, but some of the facilities are in need of repairs and maintenance, the county grand jury reported Thursday.
In its state-required annual review of San Diego County’s seven adult detention facilities, significant problems were discovered at the George Bailey Detention Facility in Otay Mesa and the Vista Detention Facility, which serves the North County.
In a tour of George Bailey, grand jurors noted security cameras that didn’t function. In Vista, an elevator didn’t work and a door to the sally port was unusable.
Among other findings by the grand jury:
— the Central Jail in downtown San Diego has a large, adequately staffed and equipped medical facility that can also provide dental services and dialysis, but on-site psychiatric services are provided for only eight hours a day;
— recreational facilities were uneven at the various jails, ranging from “sorely lacking” at the Central Jail and George Bailey locations to “well-equipped” at the East Mesa Re-entry Facility and South Bay Detention Facility;
— the Central Jail’s booking area was small and the odor of urine throughout the facility was strong; and
— George Bailey is generally 120 or so inmates over capacity.
The grand jury praised the new Las Colinas Detention and Re-entry Facility for women. The prior facility was crowded and dilapidated.
The new one, located in Santee, “is a model jail,” the jurors reported, with an open, campus-like setting, separate levels for high- and low- risk inmates, and access to college and vocational classes.
The grand jury recommended that the Sheriff’s Department review the Policies and Procedures manual to evaluate and reassess whether repairs and maintenance could be completed in a timelier manner, follow through with the proposed county plan to replace outdated technology systems at George Bailey and expedite necessary repairs in Vista.
The Sheriff’s Department has until July 31 to respond.
June 1, 2017
Times of San Diego
By Toni McAllister