CASE # 0699: San Joaquin County Sheriff=s Department
Reason For Investigation
A citizen=s complaint was received by the Grand Jury alleging improper use of inmate labor by the Sheriff=s Department.
The complaint stated that Athe jail crew@ cleaned up a ditch in front of a business belonging to a friend and political supporter of the Sheriff. The location was a Bull Fighting Ring on Escalon - Bellota Road. The complaint further stated that this was the only area on the entire road that was cleaned up. This cleaning work was done just before a bullfight in September of 1999.
Method of Investigation
Members of the Grand Jury traveled to the Campo Bravo Bull-fighting Arena located on the Escalon - Bellota Road, South of Farmington, CA. It was observed that a portion of the drainage ditch that fronted the Bull-fighting property had been cleaned of weeds, leaving only small piles of debris. No other area of the road appeared to have been cleared in the same manner.
A letter was sent to the Sheriff on October 19, 1999 requesting that a copy of the Sheriff’s Department Policies and Procedure for the use of inmate labor, outside the confines of the Jail and the Honor Farm, be sent to the Grand Jury along with any criteria for when fees are or are not charged.
The letter resulted in a telephone conversation with an Assistant Sheriff who stated that there was no written Policy for the use of Prisoner/inmate Labor. He stated that the use of inmate labor for various projects had been approved by the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors. He also stated that a written set of Policies and Procedures was being drafted and would be sent to the Grand Jury along with other documentation including the fee schedules relative to the use of inmate labor.
Findings and Conclusions
After receiving and reviewing all documentation, including a written Policy and Procedure for the use of Inmate Labor within the County, the Grand Jury concluded the following:
In conclusion , The Grand Jury has determined that the cleanup in front of the Campo Bravo Bullfight Arena, using the Community Corps falls within the criteria approved by the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors and was not specifically a political favor approved by the Sheriff.
The absence of a written “Policy and Procedure” document was an error which has now been corrected.
A letter was sent advising the complainant of the Grand Jury=s findings.
The Grand Jury recommends that all Policies and Procedures involving the use of the Community Corps be reviewed and evaluated annually and the document be upgraded or amended as needed.