SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The state auditor on Wednesday issued a prolonged report criticizing three jails in California, singling out Santa Rita Jail for not sharing sufficient details about the psychological well being of incarcerated individuals and having an extra surplus of $135 million, a lot of which wasn’t reported correctly.
Particularly, Santa Rita Jail in Dublin “lacks adequate data” concerning whether or not inmates have psychological sicknesses, which hinders their potential to make important housing and care selections to maintain inmates secure, the audit discovered. Consequently, jail employees is “disadvantaged of important data wanted to make housing and supervision selections to maintain these inmates and others secure.”
The auditing staff discovered that deputies at Santa Rita solely conduct psychological well being assessments of inmates who exhibit sure behaviors or disclose a historical past of psychological sickness to jail employees — and that may be an issue.
“With out assessing all inmates, Alameda can’t be certain it’s offering the psychological well being care they want,” the audit discovered, evaluating the method to Los Angeles, the place jail employees there conducts complete psychological well being screenings for all jail inmates and psychological well being suppliers share related data concerning inmates’ psychological well being historical past to jail employees.
Howle really helpful that Santa Rita ought to instantly start conducting psychological well being screening of all inmates upon admission to the county jail and by June, ought to develop a course of requiring psychological well being suppliers to share with jail employees the psychological standing of all inmates.
The subject of mental illness – and whether or not inmates are adequately handled for it — is on the coronary heart of a 2018 class-action lawsuit filed in opposition to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Workplace, and the plaintiff’s attorneys have been assembly often with county counsel to attempt to treatment a few of these points, and enhance situations, to keep away from a trial.
Auditor Elaine Howle submitted her findings to Gov. Gavin Newsom concerning Santa Rita, in addition to the jails in Fresno and Los Angeles counties, which she stated have elevated jail overcrowding.
Along with the opposite issues, all three of the jails typically lack sufficient outside and academic amenities to offer sure vocational and rehabilitative packages, her audit discovered.
Sgt. Ray Kelly, a spokesman for the sheriff, stated his workplace was “extraordinarily cooperative and attentive to the audit.”
He referred additional remark to County Administrator Susan Muranishi, who didn’t instantly reply.
Nevertheless, in a formal response to the audit, Alameda, Fresno, and Los Angeles counties agreed with among the suggestions and promised they might take motion to implement them. However all three counties disagreed with the audit’s interpretation that state regulation requires them to supervise and report on all public security realignment accounts.
Howle discovered that the jails in Alameda, Fresno and Los Angeles counties all haven’t absolutely reported a complete of $1.9 billion of realignment funding sources that are supposed to fund public security and have restricted their oversight to solely a small portion of the funding. Actually, every county did not report about 80% of the funding they acquired to the Corrections Board.
For instance, Alameda County has an extra surplus of $135 million; Fresno County has an extra surplus of $79 million; and Los Angeles County has an extra surplus of $1.7 billion, the audit discovered.
This cash might have been spent to enhance public security, Howle stated.
With out complete planning and oversight, Howle’s staff stated that counties can not be certain that their selections concerning using public security realignment funds are properly knowledgeable.
On high of that, Howle discovered that the jails are offering “inconsistent and incomplete data” to the governor and the Legislature annually.
The topic of whether or not Santa Rita Jail wants more cash or not got here up final 12 months, simply when coronavirus was wreaking havoc across the globe.
In May 2020, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors authorised Sheriff Greg Ahern’s request of $318 million over three years to rent extra deputies at Santa Rita Jail, over the objection of many group members, who famous that the cash would have been higher spent on serving to individuals out of labor and with out housing through the pandemic.
Critics have additionally lengthy referred to as for extra transparency on how Ahern spends the jail funds and have lengthy referred to as for an inspection of his funds.
The state audit is greater than a 12 months within the making.
In January 2020, Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager (D-Los Angeles) requested the audit citing the Alameda County Board of Supervisors’ “refusal” to open its personal investigation into the sheriff’s division, regardless of a number of requires motion from native legislators and civil rights activists.
Kamalager’s request happened 5 months after a KTVU investigation revealed that Santa Rita Jail has the very best jail demise price of inmate deaths within the area, together with a big majority of incarcerated individuals who have been stored in isolation and ended up dying by suicide.