Sheriff vows to make improvements for inmates with mental health issues at SLO County Jail

Posted at 6:44 PM, Dec 05, 2017

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson updated the County Board of Supervisors Tuesday on plans to improve treatment for inmates with mental health issues at the county jail.

Since the death of inmate Andrew Holland last July, the sheriff’s office has been working on the "Stepping Up" initiative, a national program aimed at reducing the number of mentally ill inmates in jails.

Parkinson says plans include:

  1. Creating a medical building with treatment space at the jail
  2. Establishing a detox clinic at the County Health Department
  3. Adding more mental health and nursing staff to the jail
  4. Increasing training for jail staff and local police officers on handling mentally troubled individuals

"We cannot Band-Aid this issue. We have to make significant change," Parkinson said. "That means a lot of effort, a lot of intelligent discussions and ultimately, a lot of commitment from everybody." 

Some people who spoke up at the meeting said even more needs to be done, citing the death of three inmates at the jail this year.