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.


SLO County Jail has been corrupt and f’d up for decades.

They don’t give a shit about the inmates. Now people are dying there in what seems like a regular occurrence and at a higher rate than some of the larger jails in California.

Parkinson doesn’t seem to give a shit either. I think his strategy is to run out the clock with minimal effort, retire, get a nice fat pension, and never take any responsibility for all this crap going on.

It’s pathetic.


The jail could not keep jail medical staff because 1) they would not pay them fair market wages and 2) staff were treated like serfs who were “lucky” to have a jail job. New grads in the hospital were making more than nurses working there for 20+ years. Why work at SLO county jail making crap pay when you can make double at CMC or ASH?

I have a colleague that worked out there and deputies tried to tell her she was “too nice” to inmates. Meanwhile, while nurses and other “medical” staff did not get raises, sheriffs got raised every year. Why? Different bargaining units.

Ian Parkinson got his people Panga boat catchers, a new sheriff substation at a golf course, had his people chasing unicorns and weed growers. Feel safer? Meanwhile, Mental health, social services, and nursing were not thought important.

Whistle blowers were threatened, intimidated.

Yeah, but you won’t hear that from those in charge. Time for a few lawsuits that will speak their love language of $$


Oops typo! That is grand jury sorry.


I am certain that the fr and jury is compromised of good caring people with true concerns for the betterment of the county. It is just sad to think along with the dollar costs to fund this, there is misuse of these people with their time,efforts and opinions that are apparently just not listened to.Why have programs such as these if you are not going to respect the judgement or conclusions they ultimately reveal for change ??


I just saw a quick breakdown of the new county budget.

280k allocated to the jail. 1,000,000.00 allocated to “enforce” marijuana.

That says it all. We need another million to police something that people thought was legal, meanwhile the jail is a mess and people are dying….

How long do we do this? Will people at the county do ANYTHING for a buck? Does anyone even care about the abuses in the jail?


What’s the big deal? Some people died in the jail. So what? Were they cops? Cops families? Politicians? Politician’s family members? No?

Who cares? It was just people who died. They weren’t noblemen, courtiers or their blessed families. People die every day. Why waste money on bringing the jail up to code when it could be spent on the salary increases to public servants?

Nothing to see here folks, move along. It was just people who died. Not royalty.


The Grand Jury is made up of concerned people who for the most part have no expertise or any qualifications to provide a professional opinion on really anything. I can attest to that from my experience. Until this county steps up and creates a criminal Grand Jury it’s just another misuse of taxpayer funds.




Either give the Grand Jury some power to actually change things or disband it, for now they are useless.