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AMADOR COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE

COUNTY JAIL

REASON FOR REVIEW

Penal Code Section 919(b) requires the Grand Jury to inquire into the conditions and management of all public prisons within the County.

BACKGROUND

The Amador County Sheriff is responsible for maintaining and managing the County's adult custodial facility and housing and feeding incarcerated men and women. The department provides the County's primary and secondary radio communications and 9-1-1 center.

METHODOLOGY

The Grand Jury visited the jail facility.

Persons interviewed:

  1. Sheriff
  2. Under Sheriff
  3. Jail Commander

Documents examined:

  1. Title 15, Articles 1-7 & 10-14, California Administrative Code (CAC)
  2. Detention Facility Food Service Contract
  3. Letter to Sheriff from California Board of Corrections (CBC) dated 10/31/95 regarding minimum staffing
  4. Letter to Jail Commander from CBC dated 3/19/97 regarding inadequate minimum staffing
  5. Budgets, 1995-1996 to 1999-2000 regarding position requests
  6. Letter to Sheriff from CBC dated 2/29/00 regarding inadequate staffing
  7. 1994 inmate food complaint reports dated 12/98 to 1/00.
  8. Food Temperature Charts dated 11/99 to 1/00
  9. Letter to Board of Supervisors from Sheriff dated 11/22/99 regarding jail food services
  10. Memo from GSA Director to Environmental Health Department dated 12/7/99 regarding detention facility food service contract
  11. Memo from Under Sheriff dated 2/25/00 regarding inadequate staffing
  12. Letter from County Health Officer to Board of Supervisors dated 11/8/99 regarding the illness outbreak at the jail
  13. Press release by Board of Supervisors regarding the illness outbreak at the jail

FACTS

  1. The custodial facility (jail) houses both male and female adults.
  2. The squad/training room also serves as the County's primary Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
  3. The facility housing the Sheriff's clerical staff and investigative personnel is cramped and overcrowded.
  4. The Sheriff's communications center is the primary receiving point for non-cellular 9-1-1 calls.
  5. The facility houses the primary County law enforcement communications center.
  6. The jail is understaffed per Title 15 CAC.
  7. Hot food is delivered by either the primary or secondary vendor to the standards established by the food service contract and Title 15 (minimum serving temperature - 140 degrees F.)

CONCLUSIONS

  1. Custodial Officer and Supervisor staff positions are not being properly budgeted and filled to the minimum standards of Title 15 CAC.
  2. The minimum standards for jail food service may be unachievable by any private vendor under the current conditions and Title 15 requirements.
  3. Space provided for the EOC is inadequate for the number of individuals and agencies required operating during "full operation". Placing critical decision-makers in a claustrophobic environment increases the stress level and reduces effectiveness.
  4. Working space for non-custodial personnel is cramped and congested.
  5. The communications center adequately meets the current needs of the County.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. To avoid possible civil penalties and lawsuits, the custodial staff should be brought up to the minimum staffing as outlined in Title 15 CAC, and as recommended in the numerous letters from CBC dating back to 1992.
  2. The jail should be made self-sufficient in the preparation and delivery of inmate meals to reduce possible civil action from inmates due to meals not meeting the minimum standards of the food service contract and Title 15 CAC.
  3. The County should relocate the primary EOC to a facility with sufficient space and emergency power to accommodate the personnel required operating in both short and long term emergencies.
  4. Specific short-range plans need to address facility expansion to accommodate current and future staff and technological advances.

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