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SLO Grand Jury calls for a public review of safety, health concerns and procedures at local jail 

–As required by state penal code, the 2016-17 San Luis Obispo Grand Jury recently completed its annual inspection of the county jail. Due to significant public concern about recent deaths at the jail, the grand jury took a detailed look at issues related to changes in population and programs, with a specific focus on safety and health.

As a result of this review, the grand jury recommended that the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff and the County Health Agency conduct a joint review of the adequacy and appropriateness of management structures, policies and procedures related to safety and health, and issue a public report by the end of the year.

The grand jury noted a number of concerns in this area that related to recent deaths at the jail, shifting inmate populations resulting from changes over the past few years in state law, the relation between custodial and medical management at the jail, and non-compliance issues identified by the most recent California Board of State and Community Inspections report.

While the grand jury had access to and reviewed the results of initial investigations related to the recent deaths, the report notes “the grand jury does not normally investigate areas while cases are still under a separate internal or external investigation or a pending lawsuit. Accordingly, it did not conduct a more in-depth look at this time.” However, it did request that the 2017-18 grand jury continue to review and follow the resolution of the cases involving the recent deaths.

Both the sheriff and county health agency are required to respond to the findings and recommendations of this report.

The full transcript of grand jury reports is at http://www.slocourts.net/grand_jury/. This website also provides information on how to apply to become a grand juror. It also has the “Grand Jury Citizen Complaint Form” available for the public to submit complaints regarding county issues to the grand jury.

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