The County of Santa Clara

Held on Consensus
Feb 20, 2016 11:00 AM

Report relating to interviews with inmates and correctional deputies. (Scott Emblidge, Commission Counsel)


Department:Blue Ribbon Commission on Improving Custody OperationsSponsors:

Meeting History

Feb 20, 2016 11:00 AM Video Blue Ribbon Commission on Improving Custody Operations Regular Meeting

Scott Emblidge, Commission Counsel, and Jodie Smith, Attorney, provided the Jail Conditions presentation, including an overview of interview methodology, analytical considerations, and critical issues. Mr. Emblidge and Ms. Smith highlighted the critical issues as a lack of confidence in grievance channels; gaps between policy and practice; delays and deficiencies in medical care; poor hygiene and sanitation conditions; insufficient and inconsistent out-of-cell time; lack of transparency in classification and inmate discipline; differential treatment in jail compared to prison; understaffing; inappropriate accountability for staff misconduct; and, that inmates are unaware of Inmate Welfare Fund.

On order of Chairperson Cordell, the meeting recessed at 12:32 p.m.

The Commission reconvened at 12:42 p.m.

In response to inquiries by Commissioner Mukoyama, Mr. Emblidge indicated that post-interview retaliation concerns were not reported to Administration in 19 out of 20 alleged instances due to inmate desire to remain anonymous and avoid further retaliation.

In response to an inquiry by Commissioner Callender, Mr. Emblidge stated that interviews were performed in English and Spanish, and that there were no Vietnamese-language inmate interview requests; that inmate data was sorted by housing unit, and that demographic information was not applied to coding; that identifying specific shifts accused of retaliatory behavior was difficult due to inmate anonymity and inability to further investigate; and, that inmates did not provide details relating to pill cart medication mistakes.

In response to an inquiry by Commissioner Brunner, Mr. Emblidge described initial confusion by inmates and staff regarding who was performing the interviews, and stated that a large percentage of the inmates were aware of the Commission.

In response to inquiries by Commissioner Chavez, an interview associate noted that one interviewee expressed concerns that immigrant inmates were put in unfavorable custody situations; that a number of Spanish-speaking inmates felt no effort from staff to communicate with them; and, that staff were unable to communicate with Spanish-speaking inmates because they didn't speak Spanish, and often requested that inmates translate for one another.

In response to an inquiry by Commissioner Garnette, Mr. Emblidge clarified that inmates were provided a Blue Ribbon Commission business card for follow-up correspondence with a name, phone number, and email address, and were encouraged to contact an interview associate upon release without fear of retaliation.

In response to an inquiry by Commissioner Gaxiola, Ms. Smith stated that interview participation was generally the same across all housing units.

In response to an inquiry by Commissioner Weatherspoon, Mr. Emblidge indicated that accounts of officer cell phone usage were reported at all four facilities and that officers stated that cell phone use prevents overloading the switchboard.

In response to inquiries by Commissioner Price, Mr. Emblidge noted that the interview pool did include former employees; interviews were performed in Unit 8A; and, provided anecdotal data that some inmates noticed positive changes since the death of Michael Tyree.

In response to inquiries by Commissioner Lee, Mr. Emblidge advised of interviews with union leadership and complaints from officers regarding use of force. Ms. Smith advised that the State prison grievance process grants escalation, whereas the County jail system resolves grievances internally.

In response to inquiries by Commissioner Manley, Mr. Emblidge stated that interviewees were not categorized by mental health status, and advised that the perception of inmates is that many inmates with mental health conditions are improperly classified or housed. Mr. Emblidge further advised that inmates reported excessive use of force in a specific courthouse elevator, and described delays when providing inmates with psychiatric medication.

Chairperson Cordell indicated that due to time considerations, the Commission will continue discussion of Item No. 3-a at the March 5, 2016 meeting.



Feb 20, 2016 11:00 AMBlue Ribbon Commission on Improving Custody OperationsRegular Meeting


11:10 AMSinks to bathe. Why can't we have two and one for cleaning and one for the showers but if they try to horde the towels they face discipline. Women inmates frequently, frequently complained about inadequate access to menstrual pads and many spoke of the soap itself and get two small pieces for a week and doesn't last and can't get more of it.
11:11 AMIssue five involves out of cell time. Now in different areas this looks different meaning in different sections configuration cell or it's out of bunk or out of the cell so it varies based on the configuration but inmates frequently talked about, half talked about it. I will note it's acute in units that are high security or mentally ill are housed and it was particularly problematic in those units. Some of the variations by dorm size they want to mention so even though we heard this across the housing units I want to give two examples. Level four maximum security and 30, 60 medicine outside of the Monday out of the minutes out of the cell and the most they get and elmwood camp and the least restrictive environment in the system those inmates said they didn't have enough time out of baric and many of them work shifts a day or in programming in a large chunk of the day and had other times when they were outside of the barracks but other times they're outside and the phones are outside so they wouldn't have the time to caught family, legal counsel or any type of exercise because they're on lock down. Also a language issue. In the jail and staff refer to this as programming time meaning time what we're calling out of cell. We didn't want to call it programming and formal programming and ged and family and what we call informal out of cell time so inmates said the problem with not having out of cell time they can't do the basic things they need to do to take care of them. Many can't shower and depending on the dorm configuration they can't use the phone to call families, to call legal counsel. It's worth noting that many of the inmates are prehearing, not gone to trial or sentenced so they have an active case work and with legal counsel and the inability to call counsel was a real impediment reported and the time was early in the morning or late when they couldn't talk to the family and parents of small children. They can't talk to the children at 11:00 p. M. . We heard this is an issue for the discussion between guards really shows up. Some guards will let you out, some won't. A lot depends on the officer we're told and often described as attributable to the officers with experience and those with maturity had the skills and experience to let them out and less experience officers didn't have that skill set or the experience so they would consequently keep the inmates on lock down because of the officer's lack of skill. We heard stories even though they got out of cell time they had gone long periods on lock down, two, three days or the holidays on lock down and during that period they could not be out of the cell to shower, to get hot water, to make the phone calls to get any level of physical movement. Officers also noted this being a problem. The unpredictability is something that the officers about. They need the time out of the cells because that lets is a way for the inmates to get rid of tension and if not the tension builds and overreact or act violently against other inmates or the officers themselves and builds up with the tension and not enough time to do what they need to do or they don't know when it's going to be and creates psychological stress and like a pressure cooker and things are more apt to explode. Family members were also concerned about out of cell time but more consistently pressed concern with a lack of formal programs. And I heard from a family member they were concerned about reentry so the reality is and all of the inmates in county jail are going home some day and without skills or certifications recognized in industry that's a problem for the relatives who is trying to reenter society successfully and also reported by families was the lack of formal programs other issues were exacerbated and mental health issues were exacerbated and decline of iq from sitting and looking at the wall for two hours.
11:18 AMThe next issue is the lack of transparency in the system of classification and inmate discipline and i'm not an expert how it's supposed to work and how it does work but I can tell you what we were told there are basically two types of areas that involve classification decisions based on the conduct of inmates. One is infractions which is a more formal charge, if you will, that has a formal process involved. The inmate to some extent is made aware of the fraction, has the opportunity to give their side of the story and an appellant right and ci's and as we were informed by inmates and officers a more informal system of evaluating inmates and their classification and when I say "classification" I am sure you all understand I am talking about where they end up being put in the jail. Are they put in a higher level of security with fewer privileges or are they are in a minimum level? Are they given access to working in the kitchen? These have a impact on the daily life. The ci's -- well, the inmates don't know about them. You get a ci and the jacket fills up with them and you have no idea it happened so the inmates reported a lot of frustration not knowing why they're classified the way they are and what can they do to get down classed. Why are they classified in level three? And with frustration and how can I correct myself if nobody tells me what I am doing wrong? One story I was told stuck with me. There was an inmate that said he had been incarcerated once before at the jail and doing push ups and the officer saw him and said "o you must be gang affiliated because only gang members try to keep themselves in shape here" "i'm not gang affiliated and I don't have tattoos and came back and was still classified as gang affiliated and prevented him from jobs in the kitchen or laundry and again this maybe is not reality or the way the system is supposed to work but it's the way they perceive it is working as opaque and arbitrary and as to the custody inputs I think it's the way it works that the inmates aren't given any insight into what these cis are and how many there are and what is the reason to have the cis.
11:21 AMThe next issue deals with a subset of the jail population, those inmates serving prison terms in the county jail. So although this is a subset it does affect the inmates in every domain of their being in custody so it's something we bring to your attention here. Some of the perceived impacts are listed here. The two that seemed most critical from the inmate reports were these. First serving more days behind bars so there is the issue of third time and half-time is the language they used and also that about pay -- well, about work really and not getting either pay or appropriate good time credit for the work that they did there in the jail, so this is an issue. Many recognize it's a new issue to the jails and they're facing post alignment for the legislative acts made that now allow inmates serve time in the county jail and they said that now they're there the policies need to be reconsidered. They know it wasn't always this way but things had not changed, policies weren't reconsidered and didn't reflect the reality there is a new group of inmates in the county jail. They're on longer terms often and this was concerning because they thought that the jail policies and the physical layout of the jail was not set up for inmates serving 7, 10 year sentences and not traditional jails. They perceived they are receive differential jail than county jail and report the it was unlawful. We often heard the phrase "i wish I was in prison and not that I committed a violence offense but I wish I was in jail. " we heard that a lot and this issue they mentioned about third term versus half term. Because the sentences are long this has a real impact on their life because of them being much more significant amount of time that they're serving based on where they're housed was the perspective. About the lack of programming in prisons one inmate said "i'm 19 and I have my ged and available at the county jail but I don't get some education or certification that is recognized in jail I am scared I will be in jail the rest of my life".
11:25 AMThe eighth issue is staffing and what was perceived by the staff that I spoke with that we spoke with -- the inmates we spoke with sort of universally is an issue of concern. Almost half of the almost every jail staff member brought up staffing as an issue. Many spoke about many who had been with the jail for years and decades even talked about it used to being fully staffed and safe but it's chronically more under staffed. And let me you an example of what we were told and you've got the access to resources to be told whether it was right or not but here's what we were told by several staff members including supervisors. I will use the seventh of jail as an example. You're supposed to have six members and off the elevator and staff members there and in each pod and supposed to have a supervisor and movement officer, someone that facilitates getting inmate "x" to the legal or medical appointment. We were told that the reality is that the goal is four officers but more likely actual reality is three officers on a floor like that, so that means you've got these pods that could have up to 90 inmates in them, and you've got potentially one person at the control desk and one officer for three pods. When that happens of course the inmates can't get out of their cells on a regular basis, can't get the programs. They miss visitations or medical appointments and the staff felt that guess who gets the brunt of that? we do. If I can't let the inmates out on a regular basis they can't get mad at city hall. They can only get mad at me so my job suffers and my safety suffers staff talked about the fact they felt that the staffing had been a little better since the commission was created but worried it was a short term fix and it would go back to the old levels if this commission went away. Their point of view was that the county government was trying to save money by putting their personal safety at risk and putting the inmates at risk as well. Inmates of course reported there are short staffing themselves. They told us -- one inmate in elmwood womens' said she had a medical appointment redone six times because there was no one to get her there. We heard about inmates had appointments at valley medical and couldn't keep the appointments because there wasn't staff to transport them to the hospital. There were inmates who explained access to yard time, you know, getting out of the barracks at minimum camp or the outdoor facilities. They were restricted because there wasn't sufficient staff to move them or supervise them and we heard it over and over again. The next issue is what we're calling accountability for staff's misconduct. It was something that the commission asked us to look into in particular. There was -- I guess not surprisingly felt officers were not held accountable for misconduct but surprisingly we heard from staff and officers themselves that they felt there was an inconsistency in the way misconduct was handed so inmates and staff agree it's a problem. They differed on the perception why it's a problem. Over half of the inmates commented on the issue and staff commented frequently and family members commented on it also. The staff commencements were harsh but we heard it over and over again. They talked about their perception that jail leadership doesn't hold officers accountable for bad behavior that there was a culture we don't want the bad behavior to come to light and the sheriff doesn't want to hear about and it if we do we won't be part of the team. Many spoke that nothing would happen and gave examples of staff members they believed engaged in misconduct or unethical conduct and not disciplined and in some cases promoted and sent a message to the staff if you're in the in crowd, if you're liked by the administration there is one set of rules. If you're not there is another set of rule one officer said "the culture should be if you see something, say something but that's not the culture and to sweep it under the rug. It's a culture of fear and retaliation and discrimination if you rock the boat. Sweep them under the rug and don't report them and on the other hand staff members had a perception if there's a high profile incident like the one that spurred the reasons that we're here in their perception the leadership throws them under the bus because they haven't gone through a due process situation. There is no formal finding but the jail leadership is speaking out against them so you put together the idea generally they want to sweep it under the rug but if it comes out they're thrown under the bus and creates morale problems and leads to officers not having pride in the work and not wanting to do a good job because it doesn't get them anywhere. Being uncontroversial is the best thing they see. We heard about concerns about accountability from inmates and family members. They felt misconduct reported through whatever channel grievances, internal affairs, nothing was done. Officers weren't held accountable. They felt powerless and nothing changed in their eyes.
11:33 AMThe last issue that we highlighted in the report is one that the commission specifically raised for consideration and that is the inmate welfare fund. This was not often spoke to by inmates because they didn't hear about it. Only 17% of the interviews addressed the inmate welfare fund but the extent is I never heard it. I don't know what this is, so in general inmates had a lack of understanding what it was or what benefit it provided. A few of them know about it but the impression it was misused because they didn't see the benefit of it. One inmate was in county jail for seven years and asked her if she heard about it and she said no and didn't know what it was. Some said they saw the budget and near the phone and had an idea there was a list that the inmate welfare fund was supposed to pay for but she had never seen any of those things. There were a couple of contexts inmates had heard of it, that they associated with the inmate welfare fund. They were indigent hygiene kits and and one said they heard of it and they said it's unfair and they are charged even if the family pays for it and one said she didn't want to owe it because she didn't want to owe money. There were a charge for the kits even though they were reportedly free and followed them if they came back into county jail and the record showed a debt they were responsible for in the future much regarding the incentive sodas and one inmate said they were paid out of the inmate welfare fund but they weren't distributed. One said a year ago he received it for passing inspections but not seen it sense and one in clean cell checks. There was an issue raised and with the inmate welfare fund and phone call rates. One inmate said he never heard of the inmate welfare fund but the phone calls were too expensive and one was under the impression it was help to pay for the phone calls. Another said that inmates that don't have the money should get one free call a week and often we heard the comment that phone call rates are cheaper in prison and inmates are wondering why they couldn't use the same vendor so it's less expensive and in general the take away of the inmate welfare fund and inmates are not aware of it or the purpose or benefit.
11:36 AMSo thank you for listening. I know it was a long presentation. I have to say it was an inadequate presentation because there is so much we learned that we weren't able to express and we're hear to answer questions and fill in gaps that you want to know about.
11:37 AMWe will take a ten minute break and hear from the commissioners and go into the second presentation. Ten minutes.
12:41 PMRecording was Paused for 9 minutes and 41 seconds
Thank you all right. we're going to reconvene if everybody can come up, the commissioners and just as a reminder we're take public comment after the presentations so we're going to invite our commission members if you have questions, follow up if you would like to ask scott and jody. Before we do that scott introduced his team. These attorneys that went and got the information and I want to put faces to the names and they're with us today and scott if you could introduce the team and come up where scott is and we could introduce you. Thank you. [applause]
One little anecdote about these guys we made sure we had spanish speaking attorneys and you didn't witness this but inmates were so happy to have someone who could speak spanish to them and when the attorneys came in and made announcements and why we were there and repeat the it in spanish they gave these guys a round of applause and very heart harming.
Thank you very much. we really appreciate it. [applause]
All right so I think the beauty of this process is first of all scott, jody and the team are outside counsel. They're independent. They're not employees of the county and when I first spoke with scott I asked scott -- we talked about idea about conducting inmate interviews. I had no idea that the result is what it is today in terms of the number of people who were willing to come forward and talk to the lawyers. Interviews of a thousand inmates probably unprecedented. Usually when you hear about inmate surveys or comments it's usually a handful, a sampling. This is 27% and totally extraordinary and I do believe that inmates' response -- that is their willingness to be interviewed is the response to the attorneys themselves and the fact that these attorneys are working for this blue ribbon commission and an indication to me and I hope I am right on this that the inmates have hope that this commission is going to hear them and hope that this commission will be effective in bringing positive change to the jails so we're going to take time for commission members. This isn't a time for you all just to give a bunch of kudos please because we have another presentation that will go at least an hour that we have to get through so if you have questions or follow up for the attorneys you can certainly do that but please you don't have to talk if you don't have something to say. All right wes.
Okay. I am wesley mukoyama. Thank you. Thank you very much. But I also heard from the inmates after you interviewed them a day or two after there was some retaliatory actions like lock downs and clearing the cells and my question is were you able to address that through the administration or anything like that?
Yes and no. sheriff belleview was responsive to when we would bring the issues up to him, but as jody pointed out 19 out of the 20 complaints of retaliation the inmate didn't want us to report it because they were afraid of further retaliation so most of the time we reported a general concern and one time we were able to give specific information.
11:42 AMThank you.
Okay. thank you rick.
Thank you for bringing your voice to the voiceless. Just a few follow ups and you had english, spanish and cantonese and did you have request for vietnamese or address that?
I recall an inmate saying that we should have a vietnamese speaker but I don't recall anyone coming forward saying they want to speak to a vietnamese speaking attorney, so before we started the task we talked to sheriff hirokawa or beliveau about the language skills that we needed and have available but with the people that came us we need just english and spanish.
11:43 AMOkay. a couple other things and did the coding address the inmates and could we look that things were happening to certain populations or populations of color?
No. none of the demographic information was recorded. We didn't ask the inmates for those details or make that observation about the demographic categories. The interviews can be sorted based on housing and so you could sample out between men and women for the most part at that and some women interviewed at main in the special housing units but that would be the only distinction you could tease out.
11:44 AMOkay. this goes back to the question in terms of the retaliatory behavior. Were you able to identify which shifts or shifts are responsible for that behavior by way of the complaints? Out of the 20 that reported it was the same shift or was the same --
Those were over different facilities and different units. Oftentimes people did tell us where they were but because they didn't want to break the anonymity it's nothing that could be followed up to at this point. The specifics of retaliation more broadly we often heard it's this specific shift that is problematic. Again those are details that we summarized in our notes rather than naming particular shifts because it was not an investigation into particular incidents.
11:45 AMOkay and a final question for you jody. You said the pill cart nurse get nervous and make mistakes. Can you elaborate?
I can tell you what we were told and I don't know why they were nervous . The inmates didn't explain that but maybe a situation in the dorm and then make the mistakes and mix up the med cases or not the proper ones or amount or make mistakes. Let's go this ward.
11:46 AMAre you aware from the inmates that you interviewed or other people had they come across any of the consultants and any of the issues that you touched on had also been crossing over with the work of the consultants?
I will give that a shot in a couple of ways. When we first started the work there seemed to be confusion who we were, especially among the jail staff opposed to the inmates because the impression was there was a lot of people coming through the jail and were we the ones that were there that were hired by the county to come down on the staff. That seemed to be the impression and we tried to clear that up. With the inmates it seemed like a large percentage of the inmates were aware of the blue ribbon commission and we threw that out "we're with the blue ribbon commission" so they seemed to get that. I personally didn't experience a confusion about what the inmates thought our role of but did you have a different impression?
11:47 AMA couple of the inmates thought they spoke to us before which was impossible because we weren't there before and there was that confusion and I heard it at the first days but not again.
Anymore? who is up? raise your hand. Go right ahead and say who you are.
Thank you. i'm a member of the board of supervisors, cindy chavez. Did the issue of immigration status come up in anyway when interviews people? Did they raise that?
11:48 AMNot to me. yes?
We're going to need you at the microphone and identify yourself that would help.
I'm rachel hurger. I had at least one said that his view that undocumented inmates were put in less favorable housing situations either in protective custody or other situations and didn't have the same opportunities as other inmates with other immigration statuses and a number of spanish speaking inmates felt there were no efforts being made to communicate with them. A few experienced or perceived discrimination on the basis of language but more broadly was the perception they weren't able to communicate and that often either spanish speaking cos wouldn't speak with them or they didn't speak spanish so often they had to translate for one or another.
11:49 AMThank you. my follow up question when doing the interviews did you get more momentum as people understood who they were and slow at first and then more trusting?
I would say generally -- not necessarily momentum and going from the main jail and going to elmwood but momentum within the facility so once you go into an area at elmwood that might have several dorms there did seem to be momentum. We did the first dorm and people saw that talked about it and the next dorms we got more people.
Thank you.
Thank you. we will go to the end and come back on this side.
11:50 AMLaura garnette, chief probation officer. Thank you for the report. It was illuminating. Did you give your contact information to anyone released soon or been released in the week, that time frame and a way of getting more candid information without the fear of retaliation?
We definitely spoke with inmates particularly at elmwood said they were going to be released. We provided our cards I think we ended up distributing a thousand or 1500 cards and tried to encourage people to tell their other inmates about us, and we have -- I guess actually I didn't mention this. We did get phone calls so the card we gave out was a -- it said -- it wasn't a law firm card. It was a blue ribbon commission card with the name and phone number and email address key to the commission so we get letters and calls and incorporated that information with the interviews into the report.
11:51 AMThank you. we're going with the questions until 1:00 o'clock so we have six more minutes and go over here. Gail, pablo -- okay. Go ahead.
Pablo gaxiola, former inmate. Thank you for the work that you did. My question was were you guys able to identify what the largest concentration of people willing? Were there more in the new jail or come together at elmwood or able to identify where the largest concentration of people that spoke to you came from?
No. our interviewer's perception and we had the same rate across the units and in some cases there were more and some fewer and where there were fewer we would ask what is going on so we asked what others in the unit don't want to talk to us and sometimes they would have something useful to say about that.
11:52 AMAll right.
Dale witherspoon. phenomenal work. Thank you. In regards to the cell phones was the usage across all four facilities or just the one facility where it was perceived that the officers were using the cell phones?
Are you asking our perception or what was reported?
All facilities.
Because there is a gap and policy and is it a policy not to have the cell phones? Do you know that?
11:53 AMI can tell you what I asked officers and after the complaints I asked officers and they said there is a useful purpose of the cell phones and explained to me. In the old days if people -- if their family members were calling or have contact with a someone on the outside all those calls would come in through the switch board and the switch board was over loaded and the phones are useful for the guards to contact family members and have some relation with the outside but I don't know about formal policies.
Okay thank you.
Thank you. gail.
Thank you. gail price santa clara county behavioral health board. In your interviewee pool did you include any former employees of the county jails?
11:54 AMEmployees?
You did? okay. and in your interviewees did individuals identify themselves if they had serious mental health conditions and did you have access to any individuals, inmates in the psychiatric units and 8a?
We did interview in 8a.
Okay thank you. the comments about the treatment of those mentally ill and older people "deputies use excessive force. " you asked people what they observed or experienced and did people make comments about changes in these behaviors, their experiences, or how much did you move in that direction? Some people said they noticed recently some changes in their relationships with the employees.
11:55 AMThere were inmates who had -- at least communicated to me the impression that -- several of them said "since tyree we have gotten out of the cells more or since then some positive -- they noticed some positive changes. That was anecdotal. It wasn't consistent to me but I did hear that.
We only have a couple more minutes.
Follow up --
Don't worry and i'm going to to the last two and the next presentation. Otto.
Yes, the percentage of officers and the mentioned the unions and was there a group that you interviewed more or different between the numbers of the two?
11:56 AMTo be honest I don't know who is a member of what union and there is cross over and I asked for the leaders to get the members to speak to me.
Okay. regarding excessive force and complaints from inmates. What about officers and was that observed and officers using excessive force and not handled?
Yes, but rarely. some officers said they observed the behavior and some reported the behavior but nothing happened but I think in general the perspective of the officers is that they're in a situation where force is necessary and that force does need to be used and they and follow old officers try to use the appropriate force.
11:57 AMOkay. the last question versus prison versus jail question. You mentioned there is a issue of [inaudible] of time and locked up longer. How about the other issues and sentence issues and grievance process? Did they mention it was better?
They mentioned the grievance process and send it to the sacramento and in the county it was the internal part of it and wanted an outside process.
Thank you. Judge Manley.
Thank you. can you tell us the commission what percentage of the interviewees were mentally ill? Because that's what we're looking at primarily -- I mean roughly.
We didn't code for that and obviously we're not --
11:58 AM[inaudible]
We didn't code for that so we're not qualified to make the judgment.
Did you think it was a cross section of what you included, a substantial number of mentally ill?
Yes and an important point that I don't think we said in the presentation there is a perception by inmates that mentally ill inmates are improperly housed in the general population and that causes all sorts of problems. It makes the mentally ill inmate vulnerable. If that inmate acts out it makes the others vulnerable and has this weird dynamic and the other inmates have to in some sense care for the mentally ill inmate and we heard that several times.
Thank you. I believe you mentioned in the use of force inmates forced to go to court is that correct? Did I hear that correctly?
11:59 AMNo. what was reported in routine movements like being escorted to court or to an appointment that more force than was necessary was used on them.
Including going to court? including going to court. There is something about an elevator in the courthouse that many inmates reported bad things happen in that elevator. There is no camera there and bad things happen in the elevator.
In the courthouse?
That's what we were told.
Thank you. you talked about the forced withdraw of psychiatric medications and were they given reasons for this or ever addressed?
There were two explanations given. One was the delay ever being seen and could take many weeks.
12:00 PMRight.
And the other was that the medications were on a blanket basis not available in the jail. That was true for both psychiatric and other medications.
And these were medications they were taking in the community?
Thank you.
Thank you judge. we know we have more comments and comments from folks but we're not going to take them right now because I want to go to the next presentation. We May ask you to come back to another meeting and explore this more but thank you very much.
Thank you.
Thank you. we now move to the second presentation in the and best practices and the grievance process in the jail. And by aaron zisser thank you very much.
12:01 PMGood afternoon. thank you for having me. While they're getting my presentation up on the screen I will just -- there it is. My name is aaron zisser and retained by the commission as a consultant to review policy and practices around the grievance and complaint process with the jails and I am glad to be here. That's a tough act to follow and I will have things to say about that incredibly important work that scott emblidge and his firm did. I want to first though thank Judge Cordell and the rest of the commissioners for taking on this task and for getting people to do a deep dive into some of the issues. I want to thank the jail staff, the jail command, sheriff smith, chief hirokawa, assistant sheriff beliveau who were all incredibly helpful in facilitating my review, my access to documents and facilities. I spoke with ia, internal affairs, joe grimes and want to thank the lieutenant there and the facility commanders, captain hoyt and sepulveda and the inmates and I am grateful to the inmates I didn't speak to but in a variety of ways made concerns known and the community that have an interest in the commission and showed up today. I want to make sure and thank county counsel's office, particularly donald larkin and cheryl stephens and making this go as smoothly as possible on a short time frame and like you Judge Cordell I want to acknowledge Mr. Tyree and those inmates that suffer and continue to suffer in the jail and not that this jail sees more suffering. It's just a reality that inmates -- some number of inmates do suffer in many, many jails and that's why we're here, so again I just want to acknowledge at the outset I had an enormous amount of access to documents and facilities basically unfettered access. Got everything that I asked for that was available and got a lot of support from the staff and the administration, and I reported directly to the chair of the commission. The contract provided that my activities were at the behest and direction of the chair, not the direction of the county, so I want to make that point very clear. Just an overview of what my presentation is going to look like I will talk about my background and why I should be trusted to talk about these issues today. The scope of my review and what the activities were involved in within the review, best practices around grievance and complaint procedures and a summary of findings and recommendations. I will put together a final report in the coming week which will include the information from scott emblidge's report but I was getting information just in the last week even so I didn't want to finalize the report until I had all the information in. Just quickly about my background I was at the u. S. Department of justice as a trial attorney in the civil rights division until a year ago. I was in the part of the civil rights division that conducts systems reform or pattern and practice investigations into corrections and community mental health systems and I also worked on schools and state education agencies, but I did a lot of work on prisons, jails, psychiatric hospitals and human service agencies looking at policies and procedures, not investigating individual incidents which is exactly the approach I took here looking at policies and procedures. I developed a focus in restrictive housing, what we called solitary confinement and protection of harm and inmate violence, sued prevention. I did a lot of work under the americans with disabilities act and the u. S. Constitution of course and I have specialized knowledge in the prison rape standards and I will talk about the standards and every jail is obliged to follow. They do address grievance and complaint procedures and how it's supposed to be dealt with in the policies and procedures and that will come up during the presentation and I sit on a commission in oakland where I live and persons with disabilities and the lens is often about disabilities and psychiatric disability in particular. I would also add I am originally from campbell and I am glad to be here in clarifying the concerns in my community and information is on the last slide of the presentation and you're welcome to review by background there so the scope of my review was really focused for the most part on the complaint and grievance policies and procedures and both the policies and implementation of their policies, what they do in practice. But it became very quickly very obvious that the focus needed to be refined even more on what I would term sort of the more serious complaints and more serious misconduct so I wasn't looking at grievances about food and bedding and some can have serious implications but because of why we're here and the incident involving Mr. Tyree and the implication for inmate's rights and safety I did focus on the more serious concerns around safety and serious misconduct. That lead me to look at a sort of a separate but related issue on how else does the jail learn about those types of incidents, use of force and serious misconduct, so it's not going just be the grievance and complaint process of course, and one of the principle means that the jail learns about other serious incidents is the self reporting on the use of force and I will talk about those procedures a little bit quite a bit as well, but I didn't look at every aspect of the use of force reporting process. I looked at quite a lot though. And then as I was doing my review I came across many of the issues that scott and his team came across and I will have findings and recommendations related to some particularly important issues that I came across usually related to inmate safety. , and then I will review -- I also looked at best practices and professional standards and did research and visited the juvenile facility because someone had suggested seeing within the county there are best practices to draw from in those facilities. I want to emphasize the same thing that scott and jody emphasized which I am not making any determinations about the merits of any of the grievances or complaints I reviewed or the use of force reports. I'm not saying it was accurate. I am looking at whether the jail properly receives and reviews the incidents and the merit of the incidents so I will have specific examples but not have conclusions but how they were handled by the jail but their report as the Judge Said I don't know of another under taking of that type and scale, 944 inmates interviewed. It's an incredible task and I will join the commission in congratulating them and thanking them for the work and information they retained. A lot of the inmates interviewed identified the same systemic issues I identified and has a risk of abuse and whether we believe a particular incident happened or reported by this systemic failures there is a height risk of abuse and some May draw a straight line to Mr. Tyree and i'm not going to do that but the things I found it does create an environment where abuse and misconduct can occur. So what did I actually do, what is the methodology? I conducted site visits. I spent about five hours at each of the two facilities walking around and looking at what is posted around the facility for inmates to have information about the grievance and complaint process. I spoke with inmates and staff along the way during those tours. I sent in information requests that asked for a lot of different information, policies, records, documentation, audit information et cetera. I reviewed all of that documentation and conducted a lot of interviews over the course of the month between January 14 and mid-february. And then as I said I reviewed best practices including touring the juvenile facilities and I want to thank chief garnet and staff for making that happen and did two full days of interviews at the facilities but doing phone interviews with staff and administrators and again also doing the walk around. I interviewed deputies, inmates, the grievance coordinators and other people responsible for data collection and input. The managers and coordinator who is the head of the internal unit, captain hydleman and the captains and assistant sheriff beliveau and undersheriff hirokawa and the jail observer program and more than 20 formal interviews and the other interviews while I was on site. I want to also just one final sort of disclaimer I don't draw any of my conclusions based on just a document review or interview. I am putting it all together so if I see something in the document I want to confirm it my interviews and vice versa. I can't explain it every time and I will do this in the report and I will give examples and I don't want people to think that the examples lead to the conclusion. They were conclusions looking at a variety of information. In looking at best practices I drew from the united states institution, the americans with disabilities act. These are the minimum requirements, right, but I will say -- I will be honest about it. There were things if I doing this as a doj lawyer and things fell below standards and I looked at different policies and drawing my experience and reviewing were the standards and federal juvenile standards which are helpful best practices. The american bar association has good items and the different standards and the civil rights institutional act and the standard that doj uses to investigate facilities but a little known part there are parts never used but helpful guidance and their own policies from doc include best practices and whether they're implemented is another question but things are useful in the policies and one thing on prea and the standards on sexual standards and they're not perfect and they're a compromised document and it's important that the jail not sets it standards at exactly where it is. It can do better and should do better in some cases. I want to -- before I get to my findings I do want to note that there were some commendable policies and practices. I have a bunch of asterisks on the screen and they're used in the way they're used. These are commendable but -- they were not perfect in those respects. The video is perfect because it wasn't created by the jail but the resource center that runs prea. It's a great video and should be an asterisk there and doesn't show how the inmates absorb the information and I will get to that and there is a manager they spent time with and interviewed. There are good grievance forms. They're provided in trip cat and that's a best practices. There is an opportunity for receipt and the inmate has evidence that he filled it out, not if anybody turned it in, but it's a best practices. They're implementing boxes and as scott noted some are in the facilities now within the last week and grievance boxes and I will talk about this later but when Judge Cordell asked me to do this review and mentioned best practices the very thing that jumped into my mind as a best practices was grievance boxes and I went to the facility not knowing if they were in place and I was disappointed there were no grievance boxes and this was a brand-new concept at the jail so they're being implement and I will talk about whether it's thoughtfully but it's good they're there now. There are no formal restrictions on inmate access to the boxes and despite of the grievance policy. That policy should be abolished but it's not implemented which is good. There is no deadline whether it gets a response. There are deadlines for exhaustive remedies for a inmate to sue about the issue in the grievance but the jail doesn't reject them in terms responding to it because it was filed late. There are respectful and transparent responses to grievances and there are a lot of disrespectful and intimidated responses to the grievances. There are staff tracking the timeliness of grievance responses but they're doing it on their own initiative and cobbled together kind of way but that was a good thing I observed there. I know the internal affairs unit conducts investigations when at a decide to investigate and I will talk a lot about that but what they call a full investigation as far as I could tell for the most part -- there are a couple of exceptions -- are thorough investigations. They sustain a lot of allegations. What happens at the disciplinary level was outside of my review so I can't comment on that. The internal affairs unit was important and gutted years ago and partially revived now and positive and not yet to what it should be but better staffing level before six months ago, seven months ago. Incident data is collected and aggregated and reviewed but that's because staff go to a lot of trouble and manually pulling the information together because the data systems are so inadequate and I will talk about that. The jail observer program -- delight to meet with kate jones and important office is now getting additional staffs which is great. She is respectful and has good relations with the jail and inmates reach out despite the information about what it is and what they do but it's an enormously important and I commend her for the incredible work there and I met a lot of great staff and administrators and there's so much potential not tapped into with human resources so I hope this reflects the open mind which I approached my review. I wasn't looking for everything to be a problem. I saw some really great things. These are ten bullets that I found to be worth noting as being very positive. So quick overview of the findings like scott I have ten areas of focus as well. They're different ones for the most part. The first finding is about whether the jail makes a clear distinction between grievances and complaints and the finding is they don't and as a result there are flaws in every stage of the grievance and complaint process and I would say serious flaws. Some are more serious than others. So 2-3 go through each of the stages and explains the flaws at each stages. Finding eight is about the other related concerns that I ran across in the review and restrictive housing and staffing, some of the same things scott heard from the inmates. Finding nine is whether there is adequate independent oversight and ten is about the implementation of recommendations and my recommendations and the commission in getting to the findings and I will have a corresponding recommendations and I am keeping it high level at this point. So in terms of some background what are the purposes of a functional grievance system? Well, the jail actually talks about it in its own policy, and so lists some important purposes, internal problem solving, access to due process. This is an interesting one, continuous review of policy and procedure and monitoring problem areas so looking at trends and problem issues. I will talk about whether they're using the grievance process to that end. They're not. But that's one of the stated purposes. Not among the stated purposes is identifying serious abuses and I think that's a problem, and that goes directly to the question of whether the jail understands that serious conduct with be alleged in what they call grievances or do they instead treat them all the same and the run of the mill grievance about food and bedding and the serious allegations of misconduct so who say grievance? I just addressed that. In the policy they say they can address any issues of confinement or inmate complaint. It has an asterisk next to it and it's confusing word. They don't mean complaint and the policy of complaint and end up in internal affairs and they mean an inmate expressing a concern about confinement. That's my impression and allegation of complaint and staff misconduct and this is again in policy at the jail and it can be made through a variety of avenues, again provided in policy. And it is that complaint process for addressing misconduct and so there needs to be a process to get grievances into the complaint process particularly since the jail specifically encourages jails to use the grievance process to address any concern including serious complaints and they can't discourage it in the process and unfortunately that's what happens and I don't think it's mean spirited or anything but gets loss in the grievances filed every year and want all are serious grievances on misconduct but they're lumped in with all the other grievances so the jail has 23 categories of grievances. You know that but as I am trying to point out there two categories and about programs and services, general conditions issues and grievances about staff misconduct which should be identified as a complaint, not the ordinary run of the mill grievance and handled differently at every stage of the process. Complaints must be complaints even which filed as grievances. That's what I am trying to convey. Best practices and handled separately. You have different types and some should go to directly to internal affairs. Do not pass go. Goes right to internal affairs and then internal affairs decides what to do with them. Okay. So for minor or clearly unfounded complaints they go back to the jail for handling there, corrective action, counseling, training whatever and it should happen appropriately and we will talk about that but this is best practices. Major allegations or complaints or getting a full investigation and should get that. That's simple. (paused) but this is the process. I'm not going to walk the commission through it because it would take the rest of the hour. So my first finding is the jail fails to properly distinguish between the two categories of grievance. This failure to distinguish between the grievance is failure of the entire process and requires revision and internal and independent oversight. Scott and jody said the grievance system is broken. That stole the words out of my mouth and that's what I was going to say and they talked about getting forms and retaliation, grievances not going anywhere. I address all of those things in some way as the inmates are right. Okay. They also discern some things I have no way of discerning that forms are rejected all together. Well, I would have to review a lot of grievances and talk to a lot of inmates. I didn't need to do that. We talked, the chair and scott and I talked whether I needed to interview inmates and it was decided because they were doing this I would review what they found and that's what I am doing. But I think it's very, very compelling that the inmates echoed so much of what I found to be the case and said more I wouldn't be able to know by just reviewing. So this conflation of major, minor issues, grievances versus allegations -- sorry, I think is a reflection of a culture question, a culture of minimizing and us versus them mentality, a culture of unaccountability otherwise known as impunity. Again whether it manifests in officers' abuse of inmates is not something I am going to comment on but it creates that risk but essentially if I was receiving a thousand grievances and only a small percentage of them were very serious I can understand why you wouldn't necessarily immediately jump at the serious ones and they're different but there has been no -- officers have not been trained. Officers have been not been instructed how to treat them differently and there are opportunities to do that and failures to take advantage the opportunities and there are confuses policies but they're not trained about policies and it's about leadership and culture of accountability and serious regard for inmate concerns. A high level person they spoke to at the jail and i'm not naming names but that person referred to as the inmates as "offenders. " this is a pretrial detention facility for the most part. They're not convicted and it's pretrial and this is a leader and admirable in many respects but it sets a tone. If they have a complaint it's viewed as a inmate or someone bothering us again? I want to mention prea again and there are two types of misconduct prohibited. There is sexual abuse and harassment. Sexual abuse is understood at the facility to be a very serious allegation and handled seriously for the most part. Sexual harassment is barely on their radar screen. Again because it's in prea should be considered important but because it's not physical contact against an inmate and jokes or just gestures and not taken seriously and it's on abuse and threats of misconduct or misconduct and this culture or mentality prevails through the entire process and the distinction between the grievances should guide the jail at every stage and the scope of independent oversight and I will explain that later but in short it's about reviewing this process from the beginning to the end-stage that an independent oversight entity shouldn't just referring how it's handled or whether at the lowest level as well. Staff and inmates should be trained on the distinction and inmates should be using the process and there is confusion about this. It's a successful and effective mechanism but need to be handled right. This next one goes to the policy's stated purpose. It is an oversight mechanism and its oversight and they should have a voice of what is happening there. So the six stages of the process and each has a coordinating recommendation and whether they know how to use the grievance process. The second one whether is are able to file grievances and complaintses and whether this is a mechanism for that. How they're responded to by officers and other jail staff. Whether those grievances and complaints are referred for investigation and the investigation by the internal affairs unit and internal oversight over that process. I'm going to go -- i'm going to take each one of those in chronological order and as I mentioned before some have more problems than others and I will mention that and preview inmate education, referral and investigation are the worse. How they're handled at the response level stage three. Also I saw serious issues there and very serious problems at every stage. So inmate education. The finding was that the jail provides grossly inadequate options for misconduct and serious concerns including sexual misconduct by other inmates and by staff. Information is disjointed and disorganized and it's also incomplete and I will explain that. So inmates get information in a variety of different ways. There's two videos, an orientation video, prea video, rule book and postings and I skipped orientation q and a because no such thing exists at this jail and you see that the chart is clear whether I found these methods to be adequate so for example there is an orientation video which I was able to video which is extremely out dated. I didn't watch it with inmates and I can imagine the reaction and laughter and silly format and out dated and needs to be redon. It gives minimal details and about the grievance procedure. The prea is high quality extremely detail and created by the center and the content is there about harassment and abuse and it's shown under the worse circumstances and no way to guarantee the inmates will watch the video and distracted environment so no way they will absorb the video and do it every Wednesday in the units and they don't sit everybody down to watch the video and no q and a about the videos and that's a best practice and you need to fill in the gaps from the inmate or missed a piece of information or whatever. You have seen the inmate rule book. It has numerous omissions which I will detail and a small note and no table of contents and used to be one and it has been developed into the rule book and families and inmates get from the gop and to get it and it's provided but hard to navigate. There are a million of notices and postings and I was overwhelmed and that was part of the problem and cover a lot but a lot of the wrong things. The postings are torn up and misplaced and I will get into that. Some of the omissions in the rule book they're kind of key. There is no mention of prea because the rule book is from 2011. There is mention of sexual harassment but no resources and how -- the right people to contact and what their rights are and so forth. There is no discussion of the complaint procedure as distinct from the grievance procedure. I think it's in the speed dial list in the rule book. No discussion of deadlines of the grievances or exhaustive requirements and for those folks that don't know what it is inmates under the prison reform act have to exhaust their remedies before federal court and that's how it's thrown out in court and the jail doesn't provide that. There is no discussion of the jail observer program. There is no discussion of grievances and the procedure and I mention the table of contents so similar with the postings a lot that were up were not displayed across the units or other areas. I saw the grievance procedures located in one location and that's it. I didn't go into every housing unit and I will explain why but I went into almost all of thing units and infrequent that the procedures were posted. The prea postings were up but the information just didn't cover the harassment piece versus abuse, didn't provide adequate contacted information. Again I didn't see any information about the internal affairs unit posted in the units. The jail observer program is posted in the lobby of the facilities but that's really it. There are postings about ada and I am not trying to crash here but many of the postings the contact person is no longer alive. It's a captain that used to work for the jail but that's not a viable contact person at this point so that was odd so they just haven't updated these things. I would be literally touring around the facility and see that or the prea postings and have the postings of the last audit and contact the auditor. Well, that job is done. The auditor is not receiving complaints and I would go around and the deputy would take down things I pointed out it was out dated which was good but only happen because I was touring around. It's a 62-acre facility at elmwood. There's a lot of units there but needs a plan to put up updated information and I will get into that. The speed dial list, not placed by phones which is unfortunate. Does everyone know what speed dial is? They're the phone numbers that inmates can call and press 39 whatever and they don't have to pay for the calls and goes to hot lines and internal affairs and things like that. A lot of them were taped up as paper so they were torn. Some were out dated so the recommendation that is complete and accurate information should be available and routinely updated. There needs a new rule book and postings. I saw a 1993 rule book posted. I wanted to mention in main jail south and are bas and not windows and harder to post and post it them outside of the cells or dorms but in such small type I wouldn't stand them from where the inmates would be standing or in the hallway it's halfway down but the inmates on their way out, the furthest away -- the closest to the exit and never going to past the postings and never see it and posted in locations they would never see it, so this recommendation is actually very straightforward and I think folks are already working on this and this is simple. Just get a bunch of postings. Figure out where to put it and laminated or behind glass and put it up instead of this piecemeal business, so you know it's important information to have for the inmates and not taken lightly and clearly it's taken lightly. The video should be shown free from distraction and q and a opportunity. They have lots of ways to file grievances if they knew and had faith in the process so my finding is most about the confidentiality of filing them and not available to inmates. There is no clear plan. I got lots of opinions about placement and how they're used. Staff is unclear about the procedure and staff is resistant to grievance boxes. They want to handle them themselves understandably and that way they don't go back to them. Before they get to the grievance and it's appropriate for certain grievances but for serious ones they need to be handled on paper. In some cases forms were not available and for example the medical staff weren't away where grievance forms are available on the medical units. I would ask every staff show me where the grievance forms are and here they are. And others didn't know or go through them not a good way or staff having time to deal with the grievances. There's a lot going on in the units. I wanted to mention there was one situation where inmates trustees were screening other inmate's grievances before they went out. I encountered that in one area and brought to the attention of the folks at the jail they were the deciders whether the inmate could file a grievance with the staff so boxes are important and in the housing units and places they're not seen by the trustees or staff and file in medical or other areas and I know they don't get out of the units or cell a lot but there needs to be thoughts about where they place these. There was a belief and that the policy needed to go to a certain place and it was addressed and that was a problem and grievances about the officer themselves. The inmate shouldn't be submitting a grievance to the same officer. The prea policy at the jail provides for inmates to give abuse grievances to another and not abuse and says that you can't submit to another person but not clear they have the different avenues and the deadlines for filing grievances as I mentioned are inconsistent -- i'm sorry, deadlines for receiving response is unclear and it's important and an inmate is left for two months whether they will get a response back and I will just filing grievances and the jail isn't accountable for getting them back in a timely fashion and I will talk about timeliness in a second and the boxes are a big take away. Scott used the word "awesome" that the books are placed and I don't want there to be ambiguity about and boxes should have been there a long time ago and there should be policies about the boxes and clear plans about it and where they're placed and this is important and stuck in the middle. Inmates should participate in the planning process. Okay. This the civil rights institutional prisons act there is an contemplation committee that helps design the grievance process. They know the issues of difficulties of filing the grievance and fear and intimidation. They can help the jail in the process and I would like to see that one adopted and done. The jail needs to clarify that inmates my submit grievances to any staff member and make members available to those outside of the housing units and the deadlines need be consistent with policies for filing grievances other than prea. It doesn't impose a deadline. They can file anytime and preserve the right to sue in federal court and that's important. Okay. How they're reviewed and responded to, so I want to talk about best practices and the jail's practice. Can an accused under best practice can an accused officer respond and resolve the grievance? Two different ways to deal with that. Is there a way to deal with best practices? In the jail that's not the case. Are officers trained? I got an explicit no from the facility. Our practice is timely and in the jill it's 30 day deadline and for the most part I got a yes or no and in some cases it wasn't happening and long delays mostly by the mental and medical folks unfortunately. Even if you can't resolve the grievance within 30 days you can send a response back "we're investigating this and will get back to you. " an example -- a couple of examples here. An inmate grievance from July 2015 in which the response by the deputy was "attitudes and slamming doors are not a grievable offense" and the supervisor concurred with the response. Everything is a grievable offense, right. The jail says say that and best practice and now there are things that the inmate can't aggrieve about and that's on the form. The inmate received that from the officer and no correction by the supervisors that wasn't the case. In the grievance September 2015 "i was placed into a holding cell and strapped into the chair. The sergeant came in and choked me and grabbed my penis and stated "who is going to believe you? " the response from the form you are doing that for personal gain. Inappropriate response. Other responses that the officers said not grievable and other response you're lying. You're making that up and again on the grievance form and not clear that the response is inappropriate because the supervisor didn't identify it as such. There were cases where it did happen and the deputy made an inappropriate response and the supervisor said "i talked to the deputy about the inappropriateness of the response. " I did see examples of that and a good thing so my finding grievances have infrequent and inappropriate responses, staff responding to grievances and inappropriate and intimidating and things that the inmates to scott's team expressed themselves. The forms which scott and jody talked about are subjective and used for retaliation. I didn't investigate that at all. That came up last minute in my review but I looked at the form and incredible that officers are tasked with evaluating the behavior and attitudes and disposition of the inmates. Very subjective. Lots of categories. They're not trained to do that. I should say particularly with inmates with mental health issues inappropriate and intimating responses are problematic and they don't understand this officer is acting outside of his authority. Deadlines for responses are inconsistent, not always followed and binding for custody health and prea far too long. There is a 30 day deadline and the general order and in prea it's 90 days. Why would sexual allegations have a longer time frame? That's inappropriate. Prea says 90 days deadline. That's fine. If it's the same that's okay. It's still too long but longer for prea than other grievances and put in the longest deadline under prea. That is allowed and not thinking about other grievances. As I mentioned the mental health grievances are the ones that took the longest, and their policy doesn't have a deadline. Custody health doesn't have a deadline with grievances and no enforcement of the deadline from custody regarding custody health grievance responses. There's no deadlines for appeals responses. It says "within a reasonable time" , and the last note inmates don't receive notification or explanation of delays. Another finding I didn't put up here which is part of not the grievance process but the use of force self reporting, the employees use of force and sergeants showed up on the scene and didn't interview anybody and relied on the officer's report and happened too often and the use of force -- the process for use of force needs to be looked at by the jail as well, not just the response for grievances. Recommendation responses to grievances should be appropriate, complete and timely. Training on handling grievances as complaints. Staff shouldn't handle the grievance which they're alleged to have perpetrated misconduct and responses should be timely including from custody health. Notification of delays on the prea response time needs to be shortened and when inappropriate responses occur on the form they should be explicitly addressed and the inmate should be notified they're addressed. The referral stages is probably -- it's the most problematic piece of the process. In an use of force incident December 2013 -- this does back a couple of years in the mental health unit internal affairs summarized as follows "the inmate was lying down in a pool of blood from a laceration around the eye area and did the report but noted it resulted in stitches and hospitalization. " this incident as far as I can tell referred from the jail to internal affairs. How did internal affairs learn about it because a mental health adequate filed a complaint on behalf of the inmate. This should be referred to internal affairs. The sergeant showed up and the inmate was in a pool of blood faced down and not referred. This shouldn't -- they shouldn't have to rely on a mental health advocate or inmate or family member to report the incident. That's what happened. In the recent one the employee use of force "i captured the inmate with both hands and pinned him against both doors" and the supervisor said who is a training officer is getting out of the report and didn't take (paused). This is the stage of the process I have the most examples and in a report 2015 filed by the employee "the deputy performed a strip search and found an item in the rectum and pulled it out and didn't call medical and the supervisor said they need to follow policy and the staff didn't remove the item and the cavity search and no refer to ia. Last example in an inmate grievance recently a deputy allegedly called the inmate faggot maggot on two occasions. The response by the deputy in the grievance form that was received the above false accusations didn't occur. The lieutenant said the supervisor conducted an investigation and unfounded but no referral as far as I could tell. I asked a high level person at the jail whether reference to an inmate's -- whether derogatory inmate's homosexuality is a prea violation? And the answer I got it's not correct and it's a prea violation. So my finding I want to back up real quick. Just another note about prea. The policy their zero tolerance policy and sexual misconduct shall be investigated but sexual misconduct -- the term doesn't include harassment so the policy doesn't say that harassment must be investigated and I think that is part of the problem there and allegations or serious misconduct and reported use of force are not reported for investigation and no criteria whether the conduct should be automatically referred and unclear process for ensuring that ia receives allegations of sexual misconduct. The undersheriff told me they're currently putting together of guidelines and automatically referred. I haven't seen that and glad it's happening. The prea policy says that the captain or division captain report all sexual abuse are referred there is a requirement they're referred but not investigated by ia and I seen documentation they're happening more regarding sexual misconduct. I just want to remind people that the interviews that scott and jody reported on talked about perception that grievances don't go anywhere, that there is no accountability -- i'm sorry inmate and staff interviews. If they're not investigated -- you know, if these things are not referred for investigations then the inmate is right in their perception and why would I keep filing grievances if they're not referred? And I think this is an example of this culture question that I mentioned in the beginning that serious issues are minimized are handled at the lowest level instead of independent set of eyes and ia and I list some reasons for the why the referrals don't happen. I touched on some of those. Until recently the sheriff's office leadership was reviewing referrals before they came to the criminal investigative unit. That seems to not be the procedure as of a couple of months ago but i'm not sure that is perfectly clear to everybody at the jail and item 4 is probably the thing that stood out the most. There was an explicit attitude -- well we refer to the captains and commanders they have the training and expertise to make a determination whether something is serious enough to be referred. " I got a answer from a high level person we're peace officers, not correction officers and technically the same as any other law enforcement so we know if something is criminal or whatever but captain rodriquez who heads up the jails crime is clear. We're detectives. We're not just peace officers and how to assess an allegations and send it over. That's how it should look at the jail and right now there is discretion by the captains whether it's fully investigated. That is completely inappropriate. Another note "internal affairs is unfamiliar with prea so they wouldn't know what to do with the allegation that comes to them. " and I encountered a lot of confusion about what's a serious enough use of force to be referred? There are five categories of use of force in the policy.