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SLO County Grand Jury releases report highlighting jail system, public health

Posted at 1:53 PM, May 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-23 16:53:02-04

The San Luis Obispo County Grand Jury released its annual report Thursday, highlighting issues that the jury believes should be addressed within the county.

The 2018-2019 Continuity Report reviews responses that were required as part of previously published Grand Jury Reports. Traditionally, it’s prepared by each year’s Grand Jury.

This year’s report involved six investigative reports from the 2017-2018 Grand Jury, which required responses from various agencies.

The 2018-2019 Grand Jury reviewed those responses and then prepared the report, which examines the county’s Psychiatric Health Facility, County Behavioral Health Services, San Luis Obispo County Detention Facilities, overall public health, potential health risks from the Dunes, and recidivism rates, which is the rate of prisoner re-entry into the jail system.

In its report on the Psychiatric Health Facility, the previous Grand Jury found it to “be a 16-bed antiquated facility that does not meet the crisis needs of the county’s mentally ill population and committed staff members.”

The report says the county’s Health Agency responded to six findings and agreed with one, partially disagreed with four findings, and disagreed with one.

To read the Health Agency’s full response, click here.

In the report on San Luis Obispo County Detention facilities, the Grand Jury had specifically focused on housing, food, and transportation of prisoners. The Grand Jury says studies were also conducted on the medical and mental health treatment of inmates.

It recommended that the sheriff’s office construct a psychiatric hospital on the jail campus or somewhere else in the County. The Sheriff’s Office responded saying the recommendation hasn’t been implemented yet but will be in the future with its Behavioral Health Unit.

To view the Sheriff’s Office response, click here.

In its public health investigation, the Grand Jury recommended establishing a Vector Control program, which would control the mosquito population. That recommendation has since been partially implemented. Public Health says it doesn’t have enough funding for mosquito abatement, but that it has begun mosquito surveillance.

The report also included open recommendations from previous grand juries. One recommendation was to repurpose vacant buildings within the County Jail’s honor farm as a residential detox service.

The Grand Jury noted at the end of the report that it recognizes and appreciates county leaders for showing dedication to improving county services.

The Grand Jury does not have any enforcement powers. Its mission is to shed light on various issues.

To view the complete report, click here.