Grand Jury decries lack of oversight at county jail

June 9, 2017

Sheriff Ian Parkinson

For years, inspection reports have blasted the San Luis Obispo County Jail for multiple violations, but neither the sheriff nor county health director appear to have made significant changes or admitted wrongdoing. In a report issued Thursday, the SLO County Civil Grand Jury found a lack of oversight and health and safety issues continue at the county jail located on Highway 1.

Although the average jail population spiked at 693 in 2013, in 2016 there was a daily average population of 549 detainees. Along with remaining consistently understaffed, the San Luis Obispo County Jail has seen a series of 11 inmate deaths in six years.

As a result of realignment, the county received an additional $7,164,312 in funding during the past fiscal year. While the Grand Jury report notes that the jail has had trouble retaining medical staff, it does not discuss allegations that realignment funds are not being spent on healthcare services.

Over the years, this jail has experienced multiple problems relating to the neglect or mistreatment of mentally ill and sick inmates. The Grand Jury report noted the latest state audit of the jail found multiple violations, many which were also found in an audit a year earlier.

The Grand Jury found that the jail’s management structure is complex with the health agency overseeing some aspects of care while correctional staff has other responsibilities.

“There is no single official at the county jail level that has true oversight and responsibility over all aspects of an inmate’s well-being,” the report says. “Recent deaths of inmates at the county jail and violations noted in the most recent BSCC report have raised public concern over the adequacy of health and safety procedures and policies related to the current population.”

Both the sheriff’s department and the county health agency are required to respond to the findings of the Grand Jury.


The grand jury in this county is basically made up of retired shills for the system. They add another level of perceived legitimacy. They didn’t find anything amiss or anything wrong with any of the attitudes at the jail. Their report expresses concern, but of course it must be a systemic issue.