Press Conference Update:
Holland family attorney Paula Canny opened Thursday’s press conference with details about the lawsuit and a presentation of proposed changes for the county jail.
Those changes included the removal of the restraint chair.
The Holland family spoke to news reporters about starting a foundation in Andrew Holland’s name with the $5 million they were granted in the lawsuit.
When KSBY asked the family if they hope Sheriff Ian Parkinson will step down, Holland’s father Carty said, "The manly thing for him to do is resign, but I don’t think that’s going to happen."
A $5 million settlement has been reached between the County of San Luis Obispo and the family of Andrew Holland, a mentally ill man who died at San Luis Obispo County Jail earlier this year.
The County announced the settlement Thursday morning, less than an hour before a press conference with the Holland family was scheduled to begin.
The family was expected to announce new details about their legal case against the County of San Luis Obispo, as well as discuss "disturbing new information" about what happened to their son.
Holland, 36, who suffered from schizophrenia, was reportedly restrained in a chair for 46 hours and died of a blood clot in his lung shortly after being released from the chair, according to a coroner’s report.
"Andrew Holland’s death at County Jail was a tragedy that should never have happened," said Assistant County Administrative Officer Guy Savage in Thursday’s announcement regarding the settlement. "It’s clear that counties and jails across the nation face systemic problems as the number of inmates with mental illness continues to climb. We are focused on fixing those problems here in San Luis Obispo County."
The sheriff’s office previously said it does not have proper facilities to hold people suffering from mental health issues.
The County says officials have taken a "hard look" at what lead up to Holland’s death in January and "has made sweeping changes in an effort to prevent a tragedy like this from reoccurring."
Some of those changes include:
- Discontinuing use of the restraint chair Holland was held in and updating the jail’s restraint policies
- Changing protocols to allow the County’s only Psychiatric Health Facility immediately accept mentally ill inmates who are a danger to themselves
- Restricting the number of hours an inmate can spend in a safety cell
- Adding dedicated supervision of the medically and mentally ill inmates at the jail and increasing communication between sheriff and health agency staff
There are currently only 16 beds at the psychiatric health facility. Of the 600 inmates at the SLO County Jail at any one time, the County says "a substantial number" of them suffer from mental illness.
"The Sheriff’s Office recognizes the tragedy of this situation and we are committed to working with the Health Agency to ensure something like this does not happen again," said San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson in Thursday’s press release.
For more on this story, watch KSBY News Thursday at 5:00 and 6:00 p.m.