Criminal & Juvenile Justice
The California Penal Code section 919(b) requires the Sacramento County Grand Jury to tour all public prisons located within Sacramento County. The Criminal and Juvenile Justice Committee (C&JJ) is responsible for coordinating and arranging the logistics of these mandatory tours. The tours provide the Grand Jury the opportunity to view the daily operations, examine the facilities, learn about the programs offered, and check into the well being of the inmates or wards. This information is critical, as the Grand Jury receives complaints not only from the general public, but also from the inmates, wards, probationers and parolees from these institutions. The following tours will be addressed in this section:
· California State Prison, Represa (Old Folsom Prison)
The C&JJ committee also reviewed and investigated complaints against the criminal justice agencies within the County. The committee ensures that the agencies and public prisons are in compliance with their policies and procedures, as well as state and federal laws.
Background & Observations
On September 9, 1997, the Sacramento County Grand Jury toured one of the nation's first maximum security prisons for men. The California State Prison, Represa (Old Folsom) received its first 44 inmates in 1880. The original cells had no heating or plumbing and candlelight was the only light provided.
This facility, located on 882 acres within the City of Folsom, houses 3,850 male inmates. Most inmates are classified as Level I and II (minimum security) with some Level III and IV inmates who, through good behavior, have had their security classifications reduced. Current annual operating costs exceed $65 million, with an average cost of $26,000 per year per inmate. There is a staff of 463 correctional officers and 349 support personnel.
The Prison Industry Authority operates three factories inside Old Folsom. The license plate factory makes approximately six million California vehicle license plates each year. There is also a metal fabrication factory and a metal sign shop. In these operations, the Grand Jury observed that safety standards were followed.
Vocational and academic classes are offered to the inmates. Vocational training includes: shoe repair, body and fender work, masonry, auto mechanics, printing, landscape and gardening, electronics and the expanding computer repair program. Academic classes include: mathematics, writing, literature and the arts, social studies and science. Inmates can earn a General Education Development (GED). These work opportunities are in demand by inmates who wait a year or more for enrollment. There is also an arts and crafts shop with items made by the inmates, for sale to the general public.
Prison officials are concerned with the age of the buildings at Old Folsom. These old structures require constant maintenance. The Department of Corrections believes maintenance of the existing structures is less expensive than building a new prison. The Grand Jury felt the facility was well managed and maintained despite its age.
The Grand Jury was impressed with the design and care of the prison grounds. The stone fence and entrance, constructed with locally mined granite, exemplify the tradition and mystique of the prison. Much has happened on these grounds over the years and this history was not lost on the Grand Jury.
On August 26, 1997, the Sacramento County Grand Jury toured the California State Prison, Sacramento (CSP-SAC), also known as New Folsom. The facility opened in October 1986 as a maximum-security facility located on 1,200 acres adjacent to the California State Prison, Represa (Old Folsom). In October 1992, its name was changed to California State Prison, Sacramento and designated as a separate facility with its own warden and administrative staff.
More recently, a lethal-force electrical fence was built that encompasses the perimeter of the facility. This enabled the closure of several guard towers. The resultant first year savings in personnel cost were more than sufficient to offset the initial cost of the fence without compromising the security of the prison.
CSP-SAC houses more than 3,100 inmates. As reported by prison officials, the staff consists of 720 custodial and 361 support services personnel, with an annual budget of $80.6 million. The original design of one inmate per cell had a maximum occupancy of 1,700. With double-celling, the current occupancy rate is 181 percent of design capacity.
The ethnic breakdown of prisoners at CSP-SAC is:
36.7 percent Black
Although Asian and Pacific Islander inmate population is small in number, prison officials stated an upward trend exists among southeast Asians who are included in the "other" category. The median age of a prisoner is 32-years.
The area / county of commitment:
29.2 percent from Northern and Central California
.2 percent from other jurisdictions (California Youth Authority, other state or federal custodial facilities)
70.3 percent are violent offenses (murder, manslaughter, sex offenses, kidnap, robbery, assault)
The inmate population is divided between Level I and Level IV classified prisoners. Level I prisoners represent five percent of the prison population. They provide the ground and landscape work force for the facility. Level IV prisoners are maximum-security inmates serving long-term sentences or considered high-risk management problems. The Level IV prisoners are 95 percent of the population. Some Level IV inmates are part of the work force in various areas. Inmates are housed in separate quarters according to their classification level.
Some of the inmate programs observed at CSP-SAC included:
The kitchen facility at CSP-SAC prepares meals for its own prisoners as well as those housed at CSP-Represa and the Folsom Community Correctional Facility. This represents over 20,000 meals a day.
The Grand Jury observed the institution to be an efficient and well-organized facility and was impressed by the professional and motivated staff. The inmates appeared well-fed, housed in clean quarters, and had access to exercise yards. The Grand Jury observed a mutual respect between the warden and the inmates.
Finding & Recommendation
Finding: During the tour, the Grand Jury observed that inmates were not wearing safety goggles while working in the Prison Industry Authority's furniture assembly shops. There were signs posted warning that safety goggles must be worn at all times while performing certain types of assembly. The inmates were observed not wearing their safety goggles while performing the identified activity.
Recommendation: All inmates and staff should be in compliance with safety standards at all times.
On February 24, 1998, the Sacramento County Grand Jury visited Folsom Community Correctional Facility (FCCF). This is a minimum security correctional facility located on property owned by the California Department of Corrections, but whose buildings belong to the City of Folsom. The facility is staffed by 51 uniformed correctional officers and 19 non-uniformed personnel, all of whom are employed by the City of Folsom. FCCF houses up to 428 inmates, with an average stay of four and one-half months.
The FCCF is a pre-release transition facility for inmates having 18 months or less to serve. In addition, this facility is used to house some parole violators who are re-entering the correctional system. Inmates have jobs to help their transition back into society.
The most sought after jobs are in the recycling plant. This plant employs 150 inmates at wages ranging from 40 to 90 cents per hour. Ninety cents per hour is one of the highest wages available in the prison industry system. Besides pay, inmates can reduce their sentences by working up to prison standards. These inmates are among the most well-behaved in any institution, not only because of fear of losing a coveted position, but because they are close to parole.
The plant processes all the City of Folsom's curbside waste and is able to recycle nearly half of all waste collected. Through improved technology, the goal is to recycle 65-70 percent of all waste processed. The plant handles an average of 130 tons per day, but has the capacity to handle up to 300 tons. Unlike a curbside pick-up where four to five products are sorted, this recycling facility sorts up to 30 major categories of materials. While there have been some litigation issues between the Department of Corrections and the City of Folsom, the main benefit is not the money but the diversion of waste from the landfill. State law requires cities to make a 50 percent reduction in waste going into landfills.
Commonly known as the Crime Lab, the Laboratory of Forensic Services, located near Broadway and Stockton Boulevard, was visited by the Sacramento County Grand Jury on April 28, 1998.
In the State of California, there are 19 crime labs. Seven are under city jurisdiction and 12 are county-operated. Of the 12 county-operated labs, nine are operated by sheriff's departments and three are under the auspices of the district attorney. Sacramento's crime lab is under the District Attorney's Office.
The Coroner's Office and the Crime Lab share a $26 million state-of-the-art facility. Of the facility's 83,000 square feet, the Crime Lab occupies 48,000 square feet. The Crime Lab has ten special purpose laboratories for its work. Sacramento has the newest crime lab in the western United States, and has been toured by guests throughout the world - including the Moscow City Police.
The Crime Lab has four technical units with a total staff of 33. The technical units include: Forensic Biology, Criminalistics, Chemistry, and Toxicology. The information below shows some of the areas of study under each unit.
A reportedly declining crime rate has not affected the workload at the Crime Lab, which had a caseload of 15,726 lab tests in 1997. This caseload represents a 26 percent increase over 1996. A possible explanation is that while crime rates are down, more evidence per crime is being collected and analyzed. This increase has been attributed to the analysis of controlled and toxic substances. Begun in 1994, an expedited drug analysis reduced the turnaround time on drug samples to 48 hours or less. Due to the increasing number of cases involving drug analysis, the Crime Lab is no longer able to meet the 48-hour goal. The current turnaround time is within five days. With no projected increase in the Crime Lab's fiscal year 1998/99 budget, staff are trying to find ways to address an increased caseload.
According to the Crime Lab's director, employees enjoy their jobs. He stated there was virtually no staff turnover and attributed this to three things:
· Staff are given a great deal of autonomy.
As with many other county agencies, the Crime Lab is asked to provide greater services at the same or less cost. Through streamlining processes, applying for additional grant funding, and prioritizing caseloads, the Crime Lab will continue to provide valuable services for the District Attorney and law enforcement agencies throughout the County.
The State's California Youth Authority (CYA) operates the Northern Youth Correctional Reception Center Clinic (NYCRCC). The Sacramento County Grand Jury visited NYCRCC on two separate occasions, February 11, 1998 and March 31, 1998.
Youths between 12 and 24 years old, who have been committed to the CYA by the Juvenile or Criminal Courts, are screened and tested at one of the youth correctional reception centers within the State. After evaluation, youths are then assigned to another state facility for treatment, training, and education. NYCRCC is Northern California's youth reception center.
NYCRCC is located on a 23-acre site, near Folsom Boulevard off Power Inn Road. Within three days of arriving at this facility, all wards receive medical and dental checkups. The primary function of this facility is to process new commitments, re-commitments, and parole violators. Female offenders are received, screened and transferred to the Ventura Youth Correctional Facility, located in Southern California.
The capacity of NYCRCC is 457 wards. As of March 31, 1998, 412 wards were being housed or awaiting transfer to other facilities. This facility has two long-term residential treatment programs. The first, Wintu Intensive Treatment Program, is a 48-bed intensive counseling and educational program for emotionally disturbed males committed to the CYA. The second residential program, Comanche Lodge, is a 30-bed parole violators' work unit, where wards work full-time performing maintenance, landscaping, or kitchen duties. This six-month program focuses on life and work skills with emphasis on employability.
The Sacramento County Grand Jury heard several very personal accounts from wards participating in these long-term residential treatment programs. Wards expressed how they had reached a low point in their lives, and how the NYCRCC programs helped them. These personal accounts were very touching as they hoped their lives would be better upon leaving custody.
Counties sending wards to CYA are charged on a sliding-fee schedule depending on the nature of the crime. Categories of offenders range from Category 1 (murder in the first degree) to Category 7 (technical parole violations). Wards classified as Category 1 are housed at no charge to the counties. Wards classified as Category 7 cost their referring county $33,000 per ward. The counties are encouraged to find alternative housing for their less serious offenders (Categories 5 - 7), and to send their more serious offenders (Categories 1 - 4) to the CYA. The sliding-fee schedule was enacted by the California State Legislature approximately two years ago to encourage counties to save money by sending only their more serious offenders to CYA. This has contributed to the declining number of wards processed by NYCRCC.
Recently adopted training programs have decreased the number of injuries to staff. The current training focuses on non-confrontational actions, using reasoning in the treatment of the wards. Consequently, the number of staff injuries has decreased from 200 to just four reported injuries last year. This dramatic decrease can be attributed to staff training and is the main reason for the decline.
While at NYCRCC, wards are required to attend class to work towards their General Education Development (GED) or high school diplomas. The facility is trying to secure accreditation for the education programs, and hopes to be accredited within the next few months. Another aspect of the wards' education is that rival gang members are not segregated into separate groups. Unlike other correctional facilities, NYCRCC believes integrating these groups will provide a better understanding of each other. NYCRCC reported this method is working well.
During both tours, the Sacramento County Grand Jury was impressed with the entire facility, especially the cleanliness of the housing units, kitchen, pool, and grounds. The architecture of the chapel was very impressive and the decor reflected several cultural beliefs.
The present superintendent recently retired; however, he is staying on until a replacement is chosen. The Grand Jury observed that he was very approachable, interacted comfortably with the wards, and demonstrated genuine interest in each one.
On October 7, 1997, the Grand Jury spent the day at the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center (RCCC). RCCC is a county facility that generally houses inmates who have a year or less custodial time to serve. The California Penal Code mandates that sentences of more than a year be served in state prison. In addition to the assigned inmate population, federal and state prisoners may be temporarily housed at RCCC while en route to their designated correctional facilities.
On average, RCCC houses a daily population of 1,600 inmates and the time served is 90 days. RCCC is located on 140 acres in south Sacramento County, west of Elk Grove. Facilities on the RCCC site include the "Honor Unit" Barracks, the Christopher Boone Facility, the Roger Baumann Facility, and the Women's Detention Facility (WDF).
The "Honor Unit" Barracks was built during World War II to house military personnel. In 1947, it was converted for use as a correctional facility and currently houses minimum-security inmates. The Christopher Boone facility is a high-security facility using the "Pod" design found in recently constructed correctional institutions. This design brings services to the inmate as opposed to having the inmate go to the services. This change allows for a more secure environment due to reduced inmate movement. The medium-security Roger Baumann Facility is an old-fashioned cell block. A new 448-bed facility is being constructed to house 17 percent of RCCC's population. Once the new facility is constructed, the Baumann Facility will be demolished. The WDF houses a growing population of female inmates.
Overall, the Grand Jury observed that RCCC's staff appeared dedicated and knowledgeable about their jobs.
The Sheriff's Department is continuing its efforts to secure training grants. New funding would allow follow-up evaluations of the training programs after inmates have returned to the community. Some of the current training programs available to the male population include: landscaping, plant propagation, custodial training, and sign making. The inmates laminate signs for the County of Sacramento and the State of California.
Some of the training programs available to the female population include office skills and a culinary arts program. RCCC has the services of a chef who is recognized locally for his culinary talents, teaching skills, and rapport with the inmates. In these culinary classes, inmates learn marketable skills which they can use upon their release. The kitchen was clean and well-organized. The Grand Jury was very impressed with this program and its chef.
An area of concern was the apparent freedom Honor inmates have to roam the grounds, with minimal security fencing between the inmates and Bruceville Road. An inmate escaped from the Honor Unit Barracks in 1997, which resulted in two deaths. This incident is reviewed in more detail under Complaint #97-58 in this section.
Findings & Recommendations
Finding: The Grand Jury observed damaged ceiling tiles, leaking pipes, and other examples of failure to maintain the Honor Unit Barracks. Torn mattresses and bedding were also seen throughout the barracks.
Recommendation: Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center needs to repair the ceiling tiles and leaking pipes. Torn-up mattresses and bedding should be replaced.
Finding: The Women's Detention Facility is overcrowded. The only building to house the female population was originally designed to accommodate 100 inmates. However, there were over 243 women present at the time of the Grand Jury's visit. The Grand Jury observed that the bunk beds were close together, with little floor space between beds. There were only nine showers for all the women in this facility.
Recommendation: Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center should take steps to relieve the overcrowding in the women's facility.
On September 23, 1997, the Sacramento County Grand Jury toured the Sacramento County Main Jail, located at 651 I Street. Jail construction was completed in 1989 at a cost of $80 million.
The facility is designed for the housing of pre-trial inmates. There are 1,252 single cells with a maximum capacity of 1,924 inmates. Usually the jail is at maximum capacity, with the majority of the inmates (99 percent) in custody for felony crimes. The average population is approximately 76 percent male and 24 percent female. The average stay in this facility is 91 days. Daily bookings average 150 per day. Of this number, 70 percent are released within 10 hours - either because they have posted bail or are released on their own recognizance. In order to reduce overcrowding, some inmates are released early. There is a continuing increase in the number of women being held for pretrial matters. However, there is limited space allocated to house women inmates. Other law enforcement agencies also use the jail to house inmates.
It is important to note that the procedures and practices used by staff at this jail have prevented escapes from the facility since it was opened.
Findings & Recommendations
Finding: When the inmate is received at the Main Jail, all paperwork has to be completed manually. The inmate is then examined by medical personnel and placed in a holding cell. The booking process is time-consuming, which impedes the arresting officer's return to the streets.
Recommendation: Conduct a feasibility study to procure a computerized system to reduce the time involved in the booking process.
Finding: The Grand Jury observed that portions of the jail were not clean. The stairwells and exercise areas were littered with dirt and trash.
Recommendation: All floors, whether inside the living quarters or in the exercise areas, should be cleaned daily.
Finding: Inmates helping in the kitchen fill the food trays at mealtime, and place protective covers over the trays to keep the food warm. The trays are moved out into a waiting area by the elevators until the food can be transported to the living quarters. There is quite a bit of foot traffic around the elevators, which are used to move inmates to and from court. The Grand Jury observed that food was overflowing outside of the trays' storage compartments and protective coverings, and the spillage was exposed to passersby.
Recommendation: Staff and inmates should fill the food trays in a manner to eliminate the spillage of food. Once filled and ready for delivery to the living quarters, the food trays should be delivered expeditiously.
The Sacramento County Grand Jury is charged with inspecting all correctional facilities within Sacramento County. The 1997/98 Grand Jury toured the four youth facilities managed by the Sacramento County Probation Department.
There are eight major divisions within the Sacramento County Probation Department. They are: Administration Services, Adult Court, Boys Ranch, Field Division, Juvenile Court, Juvenile Hall, Warren E. Thornton Youth Center, and the William K. Morgan Alternative Center. The Department's fiscal year 1997/98 budget was approximately $36.5 million. Approximately 50 percent of the funding comes from federal grants and other resources outside the County's General Fund. The Chief Probation Officer is appointed by the Presiding Judge of the Superior Court.
The following table briefly describes the four facilities. Probation officers recommend placement; however, the Juvenile Court decides the final placement on all cases. All the locations below are 24-hour facilities.
The Sacramento County Office of Education operates the juvenile court schools at these facilities. Curriculum includes a wide range of educational programs to meet individual needs.
Findings & Recommendations
In December 1958, Sacramento County purchased 160 acres of the former Carson Creek Ranch for $36,000. In 1960, a joint venture between the Kiwanis Club and Sacramento County established the present facility - the Sacramento County Boys Ranch. The Boys Ranch is located on Boys Ranch Road in Sloughhouse. On November 17, 1997, the Sacramento County Grand Jury conducted its required tour of this facility.
Annually, the Boys Ranch processes approximately 325 wards through the facility. A ward averages six arrests before being sent to the Boys Ranch. One-third of the commitments are for crimes of violence and two-thirds are for property-related crimes.
According to the Probation Department, the mission of the Boys Ranch is to deliver quality programs to youth and their families. The programs emphasize preparing youth for employment, victim restitution - the ward who works off campus earns money towards restitution to his victim - and community service based on individual treatment plans. The Boys Ranch provides an opportunity for personal growth, social development, accountability, and responsibility for one's behavior in the community. The annual budget is $2.3 million, with a staff of thirty-eight full-time positions.
Some of the programs at the Boys Ranch include:
· Carson Creek High School. Wards alternate between one day of school and one day of community work. Each month, approximately four wards obtain their General Education Development (GED) equivalency diploma. There are also linkages to college outreach education programs and Tutoring Smart Kids.
Finding: Previous Sacramento County Grand Juries, dating as far back as 1993/94, have reported the lack of fire sprinklers or smoke alarms in the dormitory and recreation rooms. The 1997/98 Grand Jury noted the continued lack of fire protection.
Recommendation: For the safety of the wards, the Probation Department should follow the 1993/94 Grand Jury recommendation and install fire sprinklers in the dormitory and recreation room. The Department should install smoke alarms in the dormitory and all other ranch buildings. This effort should be coordinated with the local fire authority following an audit of needs, and to ensure that the Boys Ranch meets fire regulations.
Finding: There was extensive dry rot damage behind the showers of the dormitory building and the outside wall of the structure. This problem has been present for several years and is a known condition to administration and staff. Although the damage was under repair during the visit, the Grand Jury was advised that for nearly three weeks prior to its arrival no work had been performed.
Recommendation: The Probation Department must ensure the completion of repairs in an expeditious manner.
Finding: It was reported that approximately one-third of the wards escape from their assigned community work crews. However, there was a high return of wards back to the facility, as teams of probation staff are on call to participate on search teams. Many of the staff on these search teams are off-duty and have to be placed on overtime status - a factor affecting the Ranch's operating costs.
Recommendation: The Probation Department should tighten off-site security measures and take steps to reduce the escape rate from work details. The Department needs to classify wards as flight risks and recommend more severe penalties for escapees. Escaped wards returned to the Boys Ranch should be restricted from outside work details.
Finding: The focus of the Regional Occupation Program (ROP) at the Boys Ranch is too narrow. The program is yard work labeled as a gardening program. There is a fully-equipped wood shop that goes virtually unused for lack of an instructor. The Grand Jury found it ironic that the location of the Boys Ranch provides an opportunity for ranch and farmland curriculum, but no programs exist in these areas.
Recommendation: The ROP program needs to be expanded and diversified with such training opportunities as a janitorial program, greenhouse, farming and ranch activities.
Finding: The dormitory was found to be unclean. The drinking fountains were found to be in an unsanitary condition. The Grand Jury observed wards attempting to clean the living quarters. However, the wards' efforts were not being supervised and they appeared to lack training in basic janitorial skills.
Recommendation: The living quarters and drinking fountains need to be kept clean and sanitary. There should be an established cleaning schedule with staff supervision.
Finding: The Grand Jury observed that the Boys Ranch lacks an infirmary or any type of isolation area for wards who become ill. Conceivably, someone who is ill may remain in the dormitory with the general population while waiting for medical attention or transportation off the Ranch.
Recommendation: The Boys Ranch needs to designate an area where wards who are ill can be isolated from the general population.
The Grand Jury was advised that nearly one-third of the juveniles at Juvenile Hall are charged with violent crimes ranging from armed robbery to murder. Drugs are involved in approximately 75 percent of the offenses. According to the Probation Department, Juvenile Hall's mission is to deliver quality programming and services to youth in custody and their families, provide an opportunity for personal growth (social development, accountability, responsibility), and make a commitment to good citizenship. Within the Juvenile Hall building there are several juvenile courtrooms. Juvenile Hall is located on Kiefer Boulevard in Sacramento.
Some of the programs at Juvenile Hall include:
· El Centro High School, including special education instruction.
On January 13, 1998, the Grand Jury toured Juvenile Hall and noted there were over 300 youths in this overcrowded, 30-year-old facility. Although the average stay at Juvenile Hall is approximately three weeks for most offenders, wards with mental health problems may stay for two years or more. There is an extreme need for a long-term care facility for mentally ill juvenile offenders. Juvenile Hall uses over 50 percent of its fiscal resources to care for the approximately 50 mentally ill wards. The community at large does not have a place to house wards with these special needs. The Grand Jury was advised that the Napa State Hospital has only three beds allocated to all of Sacramento County's juvenile residents requiring this type of care.
In the medical clinic, the Grand Jury noted that the professional staff attend to a wide range of health issues and illnesses. Often, this is the first time a juvenile has been examined by a doctor or dentist. All wards are pre-screened prior to admission, with a full screening within a few days of their arrival. The medical clinic has nearly 7,000 admissions per year. According to staff, the number of juveniles admitted to Juvenile Hall who need basic health care is depleting county resources. On the other hand, according to the Chief Probation Officer, the juvenile program offers medical services which are "nearly the best in the State."
Finding: Juvenile Hall's front lobby is inadequate. It is extremely overcrowded, as offenders, their families, lawyers, probation officers and others try to maneuver within the lobby, courtrooms and the two waiting areas. The waiting areas are located on two different floors. The first floor waiting area is for juvenile offenses, while the second floor waiting area is only for child abuse cases. There is a lack of seating space and no public address system to announce names, causing some to miss critical appointments and meetings. In this setting, attorney-client confidentiality is virtually non-existent. The Grand Jury was told there are plans to have the lobby remodeled.
Recommendation: The Sacramento County Probation Department should renovate the lobby to address the concerns in this finding.
Warren E. Thornton Youth Center
On January 13, 1998, the Sacramento County Grand Jury toured the Warren E. Thornton Youth Center, which is located behind Juvenile Hall off Kiefer Boulevard. The Center's program is designed to modify behavior by emphasizing accountability, responsibility, and community protection. It is critical that the wards have some reasonably strong family ties. This program requires that at least one parent be willing to participate with the youth.
Some of the programs offered at the Warren E. Thornton Youth Center include:
· Esperanza High School.
At this facility, the wards tend to be property offenders or youth who have problems at home or at school, and the family environment is not suitable for placement. The facility is well-kept. The Grand Jury found the dining area and kitchen especially clean.
Finding: According to staff, the ground does not promote tree growth. The recreation areas lack protection from the sun, as does the patio area.
Recommendation: The Probation Department should build some type of shade cover to provide the needed protection for outside activities during the hot summer months.
William K. Morgan Alternative Center
On January 13, 1998, the Sacramento County Grand Jury toured this facility, which is located on Branch Center Road - adjacent to the Warren E. Thornton Youth Center. In fact, both centers share the same recreational areas. Management oversight for the two centers is provided by the same Director.
Opened on June 1, 1997, the Center provides a family reunification program to juvenile offenders. According to the Probation Department, the mission of the Center's family reunification program is to reunify the ward with his / her family by preserving the family ties, thereby reducing either the current or future necessity for out-of-home placement and decreasing recidivism. Instruction includes social responsibility training, anger management, life skills, and many other classes and counseling sessions designed to ease the ward's transition back into the community. The Center's Director stated the program will be evaluated at different stages to determine effectiveness.
In order to qualify for placement in this program, both parent and ward must desire family reunification, recognize a need for intervention, and be willing to make a six-month commitment. Other criteria for placement in this program include:
· Wards who are relatively unsophisticated as it pertains to criminal conduct and who do not have serious or extensive records.
The program consists of weekly individual, family and group therapy / counseling sessions at the Center. The Center's behavioral health staff include: a psychiatrist, four clinical therapists, two recreational therapists, and a licensed psychiatric technician.
The Grand Jury found the facility clean and livable. When questioned by the Grand Jury, the wards stated they liked the program and some shared their current accomplishments and future goals.
Some of the programs offered at the William K. Morgan Alternative Center include:
· William K. Morgan School.
Special Recommendation to the Residents of Sacramento County
The juvenile justice system has exceeded its capacity. The lack of mental health services and facilities is a crisis that must be addressed. Our community needs to build a facility for these long-term wards - offenders who are more vicious and dangerous than the traditional inmate population. The Grand Jury believes the Sacramento County Probation Department should take the lead on this initiative, and the citizens need to actively and financially support such a facility.
The community needs to look at helping our youth before they get into the juvenile justice system. One suggestion expressed to the Grand Jury was a joint partnership between the Probation Department, Sheriff's Department, and the high school administrators. Each of these three departments would assign staff to join high school "teams". With such a team on each campus, the teams could help to build positive role-model relationships with the students, educate the youth, deal with youth-related issues, and, as a bonus, provide security. Today's high school campuses are a reflection of society, complete with the crimes and drugs found on the streets. We need to be proactive in helping our youth - not reactive!
On January 27, 1998, the Sacramento County Grand Jury visited the Sheriff's Department Work Release Facility located at 700 North Fifth Street in Sacramento. The Department operates two programs under the Work Release Division. One is a work project program and the other is a home detention program. The purpose is to relieve jail overcrowding, save on custody costs, and generate revenue in the form of program and administrative fees from the participants.
To be considered for the work release project, it is necessary to be recommended by the Court at the time of sentencing. Applicants, both men and women, can have no more than a 90-day sentence. The average participant could have committed a variety of offenses, ranging from drug and alcohol related crimes, to petty theft. Each candidate is interviewed by the work project staff to determine suitability for the program. The candidate may be unsuitable if there is an unwillingness to work, mental instability or physical inability, prior failure on a work project, or recent gun charges. Each participant is asked to pay a $43 application fee, and a daily fee of up to $20 for the program. Work project activities are performed at one of 21 work sites, on any of nine mobile crews, or at a large number of churches, schools, or other nonprofit agencies. Approximately 44 percent of all applicants do not finish the program and are remanded to the judge for re-sentencing.
The electronically monitored home detention program is available to any person who is sentenced to county jail, has a full-time job, and a permanent residence. Home detention may also be granted to full-time students or applicants with certain medical conditions. The applicant's sentence must be at least 45 days to a maximum of one year. As with the work project, each case is reviewed to see if the person meets home detention criteria. The intent of home detention is to allow participants to maintain employment, support their families, and remain productive in the community - while at the same time serving their sentences. At any point in time, participation ranges from 1,600 to a maximum of 2,400 people.
A transmitter attached to the ankle sounds a signal in the home that communicates via telephone lines to a monitoring station. These transmitters stay permanently attached as long as participants are in the program. These devices monitor the participants as they enter or leave their residences. Participants are confined to their residences except for scheduled commitments. As in the work project situation, participants pay a daily fee from $5.65 to $25.00 a day to defray the cost of monitoring equipment.
A new computer system will improve the tracking of uncollected restitution fees and perform automatic billing. By collecting up to $25 a day from the participants, the County generates nearly $2 million a year. The County saves substantial amounts of money from the work performed by these participants. In addition, costs are reduced through these programs by not having these inmates housed, fed, or clothed in a county-operated facility.
A new Detox Center occupies two-thirds of the Work Release Facility. The Center opened in December 1997 and Volunteers of America contracted to run the daily operations. It is estimated the annual cost to operate the Detox Center is $4 million.
Inebriates spend up to 72 hours in the Detox Center in lieu of spending time in the county jail for drunkenness. It is less expensive to house an inebriate at the Center than the jail. The Center's other benefits include: relieves some of the overcrowding at the jail, relieves pressure on the police by reducing the processing time, and gives the volunteers a chance to offer educational awareness programs to the inebriates.
The following is a list of complaints received and investigated by the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Committee.
The 1997/98 Sacramento County Grand Jury investigated a rollover complaint from the previous Grand Jury. This complaint involved an inmate sentenced to the Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center (RCCC) for one year. In March 1997, the inmate was incarcerated for "corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant, endangering the health of a child, and evading a peace officer while driving recklessly." The inmate escaped from RCCC one month later. The inmate went to his wife's North Highlands residence, killed her and took their young daughter to Stockton. In Stockton, he was met by authorities and died during a gun battle.
Findings & Recommendations
Finding: The RCCC procedure manual communicates a clear classification system and specifically states what type inmates should be housed in each area. If the inmate's sentence is over six months and a record of violence is shown, the inmate is housed in a maximum security facility. If the sentence is more than six months and there is no record of violence, the inmate is housed in a medium security facility. Even though this inmate had one year to serve for corporal injury, he was housed in the honor facility. Hence, there was a classification error.
Recommendation: The classification system in the RCCC handbook must be followed. Additional steps need to be taken to avoid classification errors.
Finding: A computer system is used to list all crimes for which the person has been convicted, and the type of offense committed. However, based on the Grand Jury's review, there seems to be a problem accessing relevant data. According to RCCC records, a criminal background check was conducted. It was inaccurately determined the inmate had only a prior battery offense even though more serious crimes were located toward the end of the electronic record. This lack of a complete and thorough check of the inmate's past criminal history was likely to have caused the misclassification.
Recommendation: The information retrieval system needs to be improved to highlight the most serious criminal history data.
Finding: Inmate counts are conducted a minimum of three times during the day, and four times at night. The escape occurred sometime between 5:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. - before the morning count was conducted at 6:35 a.m. According to RCCC staff, the morning count appears to have been taken at or around the scheduled time, at which time the escape was discovered. RCCC officials reported that a lock-down was ordered shortly after identifying the missing inmate and all necessary steps were taken. Records indicate the night Watch Commander and his sergeants left before the count was cleared. Some of the morning command had arrived. Although the night shift supervisors' early departure was not a contributing factor in the escape, it seems prudent for the command staff to remain on site until they know the count is clear.
Recommendation: RCCC should require that the outgoing command staff remain on site until all counts have been verified and no discrepancies exist.
Finding: From the Grand Jury's observation, RCCC has an inadequate security fence and system. The lack of an adequate perimeter fence contributed to the inmate's escape. According to RCCC staff, there is a plan for a fence. However, funding has not been approved.
Recommendation: RCCC must construct a high-security perimeter fence. This fence must be a priority to protect the residents of Sacramento County from escapees.
The Sacramento County Grand Jury investigated a citizen's complaint alleging that a peace officer in the Isleton Police Department had acted improperly. The focus of the investigation was to determine if the peace officer acted improperly in dealing with the citizen, if established and proper procedures were followed in responding to the citizen's complaints, and if proper documentation was filed. The Grand Jury interviewed both staff of the Isleton Police Department and the complainant. Also reviewed were the documented procedures established by the Isleton Police Department, as required by the California Penal Code section 832.5.
Section 832.5 of the California Penal Code: Citizens' Complaints Against Peace Officers - Investigation Procedure; Retention of Complaints and Findings; Frivolous Complaints; "General Personnel File" Defined.
Findings & Recommendations
Finding: Penal Code section 832.5 mandates each sheriff and city police department in this State to establish procedures to investigate citizens' complaints against personnel of those departments or agencies. The law further requires that a written description of the procedure be available to the public. The Isleton Police Department did have a citizens' complaint process available to the public and the complainant properly complied with the established procedure. The Isleton Police Department neglected to follow the written procedure for handling citizens' complaints.
Recommendation: The Isleton Police Department should adhere to the citizens' complaint procedures.
Finding: Based upon the Grand Jury's findings, the Isleton Police Department did not investigate promptly nor follow-up on this complaint. Minimal effort was made to contact the complainant to verify the charges. After it was determined the complaint was unfounded, the Department further erred by not filing the complaint properly. There was no system to document investigations and resolve complaints. The Isleton Police Department made no attempt to contact the citizen on the disposition of the investigation.
Recommendation: The Isleton Police Department should promptly and thoroughly investigate complaints, maintain documentation on the investigation process, record all actions taken in response, and notify complainant(s) of the disposition.
Finding: In accordance with Penal Code section 832.5, complaints against a peace officer that are determined to be unfounded shall not be maintained in the peace officer's general personnel file. The Grand Jury discovered that the Department filed the complaint in the accused peace officer's general personnel file, even though the Department found the complaint to be unfounded. During the Grand Jury's investigation, it was determined that the Chief of Police maintains all peace officers' general personnel files in his locked files.
Recommendation: As mandated by law, the Isleton Police Department should maintain a separate file for citizens' complaints against peace officers determined to be unfounded.
Finding: In discussing the number of citizens' complaints filed against the Isleton Police Department, the Chief of Police indicated only one complaint had been filed. The Grand Jury discovered four additional complaints. The Chief of Police did not maintain a log of complaints or record any actions taken. Upon discussing this issue with the Chief of Police, he created a log. However, it was a loose-leaf notebook with hand numbering, which is not appropriate to maintain permanent records.
Recommendation: While it is not mandated by law, the Grand Jury recommends that the Isleton Police Department maintain a bound ledger with sequential numbering of all citizens' complaints filed against the Police Department, with ledger pages maintained intact. A record of the action taken should be noted in the ledger.
Finding: The California Penal Code section 13020(a)(b) requires that records be maintained and statistical data be reported to the Department of Justice. The Grand Jury found no evidence that the Isleton Police Department submitted timely reports to the Department of Justice.
Recommendation: The Isleton Police Department should submit to the Department of Justice and the Isleton City Council an accurate and timely report of the number of citizens' complaints received annually.
The Sacramento County Grand Jury received a complaint regarding the use of the Prostraint chair by Sheriff's Department staff at the Sacramento County Main Jail.
According to the Sheriff's Department, the Prostraint chair is used as a last resort when violent or unruly inmates threaten the safety of themselves, officers, medical personnel, or other inmates. For the protection of the inmate and staff, the use of the chair is documented on video tape and stored for future reference. The inmate is handcuffed with his hands behind his back. Nylon seat belts are used across the inmate's chest, legs, and over the waist to keep the inmate from kicking or falling from the chair. A mesh hood is applied over the inmate's head to protect the officers from infectious diseases, transmitted from being spit upon or bitten.
The Prostraint chair is constructed with wheels so inmates are easily transported within the jail. Immediately after the inmates are restrained, medical personnel are called to ensure that health issues are addressed. The inmates are released from the chair as soon as they are no longer a threat.
The Grand Jury visited the Main Jail on two occasions and in both instances witnessed a demonstration of the Prostraint chair. To view the actual use of the chair, the Grand Jury requested a random sample of videotapes of the chair in use.
Finding & Recommendation
Finding: During the jail visits and after viewing the videotapes, no instances were found where the chair was used improperly. Five to six trained officers perform the procedure to safely place the inmate in restraints and into the chair.
Recommendation: The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department should continue following standard operating procedures in the use of the Prostraint chair.
No Response Required