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Dublin: Class action lawsuit may lead to better mental health care at Santa Rita Jail

Proposed settlement subject to hearings later in year

Incarcerated people at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin may get a Christmas gift in the form of better mental health care following a federal class action lawsuit.

Both sides reached a proposed settlement and agreement in the lawsuit against Alameda County, which runs the jail.

Proposed changes over the next two years have to do with the delivery of care, out of cell time, accommodations for people with mental disabilities, use-of-force, discharge planning, and among other things, suicide prevention.

Nineteen people have died by suicide at Santa Rita Jail since 2014 and 31 more died there from other causes. Fifty is a large number for a jail of Santa Rita's size, attorneys for the incarcerated people said.

What initially prompted the lawsuit were the suicides, said attorney Jeffrey Bornstein, a partner at Rosen Bien Galvan and Grunfeld, which represents the people incarcerated at the jail.

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The jail was getting high scores from one or more accrediting bodies, yet people were dying, he said

"The (jail's) whole mental health care system was broken," Bornstein said in an interview Friday.

For example, the behavioral health care unit was called the "mental unit" before the lawsuit was filed.

"We are pleased with the settlement and are looking forward to implementing the necessary changes to benefit those in our custody and make our staff and jail safer," said Sgt. Ray Kelly, with the Alameda County Sheriff's Office.

"We have been committed to the process for the last three years and will continue to work hard to achieve the goals of the settlement," Kelly said.

The settlement is not final. A hearing on the motion for a preliminary approval is set for Sept. 22 and the hearing for the final approval before the court is set for Dec. 15.

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Dublin: Class action lawsuit may lead to better mental health care at Santa Rita Jail

Proposed settlement subject to hearings later in year

by / Bay City News Service

Uploaded: Sun, Aug 29, 2021, 4:56 pm

Incarcerated people at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin may get a Christmas gift in the form of better mental health care following a federal class action lawsuit.

Both sides reached a proposed settlement and agreement in the lawsuit against Alameda County, which runs the jail.

Proposed changes over the next two years have to do with the delivery of care, out of cell time, accommodations for people with mental disabilities, use-of-force, discharge planning, and among other things, suicide prevention.

Nineteen people have died by suicide at Santa Rita Jail since 2014 and 31 more died there from other causes. Fifty is a large number for a jail of Santa Rita's size, attorneys for the incarcerated people said.

What initially prompted the lawsuit were the suicides, said attorney Jeffrey Bornstein, a partner at Rosen Bien Galvan and Grunfeld, which represents the people incarcerated at the jail.

The jail was getting high scores from one or more accrediting bodies, yet people were dying, he said

"The (jail's) whole mental health care system was broken," Bornstein said in an interview Friday.

For example, the behavioral health care unit was called the "mental unit" before the lawsuit was filed.

"We are pleased with the settlement and are looking forward to implementing the necessary changes to benefit those in our custody and make our staff and jail safer," said Sgt. Ray Kelly, with the Alameda County Sheriff's Office.

"We have been committed to the process for the last three years and will continue to work hard to achieve the goals of the settlement," Kelly said.

The settlement is not final. A hearing on the motion for a preliminary approval is set for Sept. 22 and the hearing for the final approval before the court is set for Dec. 15.

Comments

Jenn
Registered user
another community
on Aug 31, 2021 at 7:54 am
Jenn, another community
Registered user
on Aug 31, 2021 at 7:54 am

Which accrediting bodies gave Santa Rita high scores? The DOJ found that Santa Rita/Alameda County violated multiple Constitutional and federal laws regarding mental health treatment in Santa Rita.
“Consistent with the statutory requirements of CRIPA, we provide this Notice of the alleged conditions that we have reasonable cause to believe violate the Constitution and federal law and the supporting facts giving rise to those violations. 42 U.S.C. § 1997b(a)(1); 42 U.S.C. § 1997c(b)(1).”

And to call providing mental health services to anyone, let alone an already marginalized population, a Christmas gift is disgusting on multiple levels.


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