Stockton, CA — Today, the 2022-2023 San Joaquin County Civil Grand Jury released its report investigating San Joaquin County custodial facilities’ compliance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA). PREA helps to create a safe and secure detention system by addressing the issue of sexual abuse in detention facilities and protecting the rights and safety of individuals. Failure to meet standards under PREA can result in serious consequences for detainees, inmates, and residents, and an inability to protect vulnerable individuals housed at the County custodial facilities.
The Grand Jury cited multiple media reports of sexual abuse in San Joaquin County custodial facilities and review of complaints stemming from allegations of sexual and physical abuse occurring in those facilities as the reason for their investigation. The Grand Jury investigated the policies, procedures, and standards established and applicable to San Joaquin County custodial facilities to combat sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and physical abuse against and by those in custody. The Grand Jury toured the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Detention Facility, the Juvenile Detention Facility, and the Lodi Police Department Jail to determine if federally mandated standards are being met. They reviewed numerous documents, video files, and regulations. They also conducted five separate interviews.
In its investigation, the Grand Jury’s found the custodial facilities in the County did not have comprehensive knowledge of all PREA provisions and were not in compliance. Based on its findings, the Grand Jury recommended several corrective actions:
· audit reports for the County Jail and Juvenile Detention Facility be completed by a Certified PREA Auditor and submitted to the Department of Justice every three years as required by PREA Standards;
· all County custodial facilities provide detainees, inmates, and juvenile residents with access to better written and comprehensive PREA materials;
· detainees, inmates, and juvenile residents at County custodial facilities be provided with all of the required PREA information during the screening and intake process and then again during subsequent PREA training;
· detainees, inmates, and juvenile residents be given information on how to file a confidential report in private with an outside agency or entity;
· complete the installation of video monitoring equipment to enable video coverage for all interactions between staff and inmates, eliminate blind spots, and add video capabilities in interrogation rooms at the County Jail; and
· provide a written policy and procedure describing how juvenile residents (under the age of 18) and older residents (who are 18-25 years of age) housed at the County Juvenile Detention Facility maintain separation when required.
The public is encouraged to read the complete report by visiting the Grand Jury’s website.