San Diego County sheriff Bill Gore is looking for a few good legal researchers to help the denizens of his jails throw off their chains. “The inmates’ right to conduct legal research has been determined to be within their constitutional right to access the courts,” says a January 25 bid request on the County’s procurement website. “The County of San Diego Sheriff’s Department has determined the inmates’ use of legal research services offsite, or outside of a detention facility, is preferred for security reasons and for cost effectiveness. Therefore, the Sheriff intends to award a contract with an initial term from the date of the award through June 30, 2013, and three option terms of one year each.” Under the plan, the inmates in stir will submit written research requests, which will then be followed up on by attorneys on the outside.
“Approximately 95,000 inmates are processed through the Sheriff’s seven detention facilities each year,” the request continues. “The average daily population of inmates is approximately 4700 housed in the facilities that include: the East Mesa Detention Facility, the Facility 8, the George Bailey Detention Facility, the Las Colinas Women’s Detention Facility, the South Bay Detention Facility, the San Diego Central Jail and the Vista Detention Facility.
“On average, 300 inmates request legal research assistance monthly. Each inmate is granted one request for assistance per month. Each request is allowed up to five (5) line items on a request form for a total of 50 pages maximum per request (25 double-sided pages). All requests are limited to criminal case law or conditions of confinement.”
Successful bidders will be lawyers in good standing with the state bar and without a criminal record who are able to return “written responses…in an unsealed envelope with the inmate’s name and booking number printed on the front.…” The cost to taxpayers for the free legal research will not be known until after the bids come in next month.