On May 18, the San Diego County Grand Jury handed down their verdict on San Diego County's public jails as part of the annual review mandated by the California penal code. After inspections at seven adult penitentiaries, five juvenile facilities, and one emergency shelter for children, the grand jury issued a handful of recommendations to local law enforcement and to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.
One recommendation passed on to the probation department was to “immediately replace” the bunk beds at Kearney Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility in favor of “platform-style” single beds, or “safety beds.” The report indicates that since July 2009, nine juvenile inmates have attempted suicide by hanging themselves from the bunk beds.
The grand jury also gave suggestions for the San Diego County Sheriff's Department to upgrade the existing video surveillance equipment in all but one of its facilities. “It is essential to have equipment that not only covers every area of the jail where inmates congregate or have access, but also to provide a seamless chronicle of any occurrence involving violence, accidents, mistreatment of staff or detainees, or any other suspect activity, all of which can result in lawsuits and loss to the taxpayers of San Diego County,” reads the grand jury report.
According to the report, George Bailey Detention Facility, near Otay Mesa, is the only facility, out of the county's seven adult detention facilities, that has sufficient video equipment. That facility upgraded its video devices in 2005, for $950,000.
In addition, the grand jury recommended that the county seal the doors shut on Las Colinas Women's Detention Facility in Santee and expedite the construction bidding process to build a new prison. Opened in 1967, Las Colinas is the second oldest jail in the county; it is also the only jail in the county that the grand jury considered to be overcrowded.
Overall, despite the recommendations, the grand jury report found the county's jails are properly staffed and considered “operations at adult and juvenile detention facilities” in San Diego County to be “running smoothly and efficiently.”