Dozens of complaints are cited in a federal lawsuit alleging that California violated the rights of disabled prisoners by not ensuring they would receive adequate care in county jails.
San Luis Obispo County Jail wasn’t mentioned in the complaints. But like their counterparts in California, jail officials with the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office have started receiving notification from the state about disabled parolees who are being held in the County Jail facility off Highway 1.
In the past seven weeks, they’ve received eight notifications from state corrections officials that inmates in their custody may need special accommodations because of a disability, Corrections Lt. Michelle Cole said.
County Jail officials were able to accommodate their needs, she said. They ranged from needing to sleep on a bottom bunk because of mobility issues to not being able to lift more than 15 or 20 pounds.
Some of the parolees are housed at County Jail under a state law known as realignment, which shifted the responsibility to county governments for managing and supervising certain offenders who previously were sent to state prison or paroled.
Realignment has contributed to overcrowding at the County Jail. However, the number of parolees with disabilities hasn’t made a large impact on the jail and officials’ ability to provide accommodations, Cole said.
In 2010, one of the cells was converted to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The jail also has an ADA-compliant shower, Cole said.Jail officials do not track how many inmates are disabled.
State regulators say the jail should house only 517 inmates; however, new beds have increased the capacity to 683.