Oroville Mercury-Register

Feds say county jail violates inmates’ rights


SAN LUIS OBISPO >> California’s San Luis Obispo County Jail violated the constituti­onal rights of incarcerat­ed people by failing to provide adequate medical and mental health care and subjecting some inmates to excessive uses of force, according to a federal investigat­ion.

A report released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Justice concluded that “there is reason to believe that the practices at the jail violate the Eighth and 14th Amendments of the Constituti­on, as well as the Americans with Disabiliti­es Act (ADA).”

The probe that began in 2018 found that inmates with mental health disabiliti­es faced restrictiv­e housing conditions and were denied access to services, programs and activities.

The Sal Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office, which runs the jail, didn’t immediatel­y return a phone call seeking comment. Spokesman Tony Cipolla told the San Luis Obispo Tribune that the agency will release a statement about the Justice Department’s findings later Tuesday.

The Department of Justice said it has provided the jail with its findings, along with the minimum remedial measures necessary to address them.

“Our Constituti­on guarantees that all people held in jails and prisons across our country are treated humanely, and that includes providing access to necessary medical and mental health care,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

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