September 24 2021 03:30 pm

Feds find California county jail violates inmates’ rights


SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (AP) — California’s San Luis Obispo County Jail violated the constitutional rights of incarcerated people by failing to provide adequate medical and mental health care and subjecting some inmates to excessive uses of force, according to a federal investigation.

A report released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Justice concluded that “there is reason to believe that the practices at the jail violate the Eighth and 14th Amendments of the Constitution, as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).”

The probe that began in 2018 found that inmates with mental health disabilities faced restrictive housing conditions and were denied access to services, programs and activities.

The Sal Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office, which runs the jail, didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment. Spokesman Tony Cipolla told the San Luis Obispo Tribune that the agency will release a statement about the Justice Department’s findings later Tuesday.

The Department of Justice said it has provided the jail with its findings, along with the minimum remedial measures necessary to address them.

“Our Constitution guarantees that all people held in jails and prisons across our country are treated humanely, and that includes providing access to necessary medical and mental health care,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

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