Custodial Medical Survey
Subject of Investigation
The California state laws that call for the formation of and establish guidelines for Sacramento's Grand Jury require that each Jury visit all jails, prisons, and other areas of detention located within the county. During this year's tours, the 1995-1996 Grand Jury took particular notice of the medical and psychiatric care units at the County Jail and Juvenile Hall.
Reason for Investigation
Funds available for public medical. and psychiatric care have been reduced consistently and substantially over the past decade. Inasmuch as Sacramento County is responsible for the health and safety of inmates and wards while they are in custody, the Grand Jury was interested in learning what level of mental and physical care and maintenance is available in the county's detention facilities.
The 1995-1996 Sacramento County Grand Jury toured the facilities, met with and questioned administrative officers-and staff, and spoke to officers and inmates.
When the Grand Jury visited the Sacramento County Adult Detention Facility (county jail), the staff informed us of its recent accreditation after a survey by the California Medical Association. This means the jail medical wards, the staff and doctors, and the administrators are in compliance with a host of standards set by the California Medical Association Committee for Correction and Detention Facility Health Care.
At the Sacramento County Probation Department's Juvenile Hall, the Grand Jury found that no relationship with the California Medical Association or other hospital or medical surveying authority exists. Despite operating inpatient hospital wards and extensive outpatient clinics, there is no independent accreditation, oversight or review process in place.
The Grand Jury considers a survey and medical audit of the Juvenile Hall medical facilities essential. In a litigious society, an award of compliance with statewide standards may save the institution and the county substantial court-awarded damages. But most importantly, since Sacramento County accepts the responsibility for medical care for incarcerated youth, the County must also ensure its medical services can pass outside professional scrutiny.
The community standard of care should apply to all public medical and mental health services provided in the county, including that furnished to incarcerated persons. In detention facilities, the ability to competently handle emergency and critical care situations is as much a matter of safety for the officers working there as it is for the benefit of those who are confined.
The Grand Jury recommends that:
· The Sacramento County Sheriff's Adult Detention facilities continue an ongoing relationship with the California Medical Association's Committee on Corrections and Detentions Health Care and to submit to periodic accreditation surveys by the committee
· The Sacramento County Probation Department contact and establish a relationship with the California Medical Association or other surveying authority so that an independent review, survey, and evaluation of medical wards and outpatient clinics at the Juvenile Hall may be initiated and periodically repeated to establish accreditation of their health delivery system
The Penal Code Jury requires responses to the recommendations contained in this report be submitted to the Presiding Judge of the Sacramento County Superior and Municipal Courts by September 30, 1996, from:
Sacramento County Sheriff's Department
Sacramento County Probation Department