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May 9, 2012     Feather River Bulletin
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May 9, 2012
 

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Feather River Bulletin Wednesday, May 9, 2012 7A Jail may not meet legal order Dan McDonald Staff Writer dmcdonald@plumasnews.com The Plumas County Jail -- already filling to capacity because of the state inmate realignmeat -- could be facing more problems. Sheriff Greg Hagwood said he was recently notified by the Plumas County Grand Jury that the jail doesn&apos;t have adequate staffing, mak- ing it out of compliance with a 1992 consent decree. Hagwood said his depart- ment would need to add "six to seven" corrections officers to comply with the decree. The federal decree, which resulted from a 1989 class- action lawsuit, placed mini- mum staffing requirements on the jail. Hagwood said the re- quirements aren't being met. "As it turns out, the jail expansion went through back in the early '90s without 'the consent decree being addressed," Hagwood said. "There was an effort to amend it, but it was never filed with the courts. And it was never signed off by all the attorneys (who filed the 1989 lawsuit)." The jail was expanded from 37 to 67 beds in the early 1990s. Hagwood said the jail would be operating outside the decree if it houses more than 37 people. Hagwood said there are more than 30 inmates in the jail right now. He added the jail population usually rises during the summer. "As it appears from the documentation I've seen though our research, there was an effort to address it. But it was never followed through with," Hagwood said. "And absent that follow- through the consent decree, as it reads now, says that we "These circumstances would be problematic under any situation. But at we are now in the midst of inmate populations rising due to the criminal justice realignment, the problem becomes a bit more acute." Greg Hagwood Plumas County Sheriff are capped at 37 inmates. "These circumstances would be problematic under any situation. But that we are now in the midst of inmate populations rising due to the criminal justice realignment, the problem becomes a bit more acute." Jail staffing was just one of dozens of the decree's condi- tions.It stated, "The Plumas County Jail shall be staffed by at least three correctional officers during the day shift, with at least two correctional officers during the two other shifts. Each shift shall have a woman correctional officer and a designated person with the authority to Carry out the policies and procedure contained herein." Those staffing require- ments were based on a jail capacity of 37 beds. Hagwood said adding the necessary staff could cost the county upward of $400,000 annually. "There was a time when the county's budget probably would have provided for that," Hagwood said. "But as the county is looking at a $1.5 million shortfall, this comes at the worst time. It brings to bear some serious issues that have to be addressed." The sheriff said, "The re- maining attorneys that partici- pated in the initial class-action suit have toured the facility and have expressed a willing- ness to lift the consent decree, contingent upon the addition of more correctional staff." One of the attorneys in- volved in the 1989 lawsuit has since died. Hagwood said he has addressed the staffing issue with County Counsel Craig Settlemire and local attorney Michael Jackson. Jackson, who was one of the attorneys in the class-action lawsuit, said he didn't think the sheriff was breaking the law. He said, "The reasons I filed the decree in the first place have been satisfied. "I don't think that's what the decree was intended to do to dictate particular staffing levels," Jackson said. "I don't know what the court will do, but the laws have changed in 15 years." Settlemire agreed with Hag- wood that the jail would cur- rently by out of compliance if it houses more than 37 people. But he said his office is working with the attorneys who filed the original lawsuit. "We are having cordial conversations," he said. Settlemire said he hoped the consent decree issue could be resolved "in a couple months or so." The matter could be brought back to court. If the court rules the jail is out of compliance because of inadequate staffing, it could impose a variety of sanctions if staffing levels are not increased, according to Hagwood. The lawsuit was filed when Dick Mackenzie was sheriff. There were three successive sheriffs before Hagwood began the job three years ago. "What it really pointed out was a breakdown in commu- nication on a number of different levels," Hagwood said, "between the federal courts and the State Correc- tions Standards Authority. "And it also points out a breakdown in communica- tion institutionally here from one administration to the succeeding administration." Q, from page 1A Tuesday: Gospel music homecoming celebration, 7 p.m., Lutheran Churchat 298 East HighSt. Showing of music video DVD featuring old-time gospel favorites. Free hot buttered popcorn. For information: Laura Foster, 927-7003; Bill Coates, 283-4260. "Local Women Making a Local Difference," 5:30 p.m., Tulsa Scott Pavilion at Plumas-Sierra County Fairgrounds. Annual recognition event sponsored by Soroptimist International of Quincy. Awards presented. Tickets $22; public is invited. For information, to make a reservation: Joyce Scroggs, 283-Q795. Quincy Connect: Happy Transition HOur, 5 = 7p:m., ' Alley Cat Cafe at 541 Main St. Transition Quincy hosts con- versational salon, featuring Dale Ready on "Transporta- tion Options with Rising Oil Prices." Free and open to all. Donations encouraged but not required. For information: Karen Kleven, 394-0269. PAID POLITICAL ADVERTISEMENT #1 "We need to ask for and expect more from our leaders." JamesHuffmonForSupervisor.com (530) 283-3277 PAID FOR BY THE COMMITTEE TO ELECT HUFFMON FOR SUPERVISOR 2012 PAID POLITICAL ADVERTISEMENT Re-Elect Lon Szmpson Supervisor District 4 Check Her Proven Record: Represents all the people in District 4, not just special interest groups ,/Fiscally responsible to taxpayers ,/Honest, hardworking and accountable ,/Working to balance all needs within the county with limited resources ,/Shown leadership in difficult times V' Available to serve and represent 24 hours a day "Asking the questions that you want answered." Paid for by the Committee to Re-Elect Lori Simpson District 4 PO Box 432 ,, Quincy,, CA 95971 #1306368 Hagwood hono Plumas County Sheriff Greg Hagwood displays an award from state Sen. Ted Gaines Thursday, April 26, in Sacramento. The sheriff was honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award from Sacramento State University. Hagwood, who graduated from Sacramento State with a degree in criminal justice in 1989, said it was a "tremendous" honor. "it's really a reflection of the entire sheriff's office efforts that we have been successful. My success is simply a reflection of everybody's hard work and tremendous dedication." Photo courtesy Frank Shepard Mother's is Mou 13th[ Show your Mom you love how much " <:,. and appreciate hei with a gift from Gray's Flower Garden Surprise her early- we'll deliver all week! JUST CALL US 283-2010 Living- Lasting Gift Ideas Outdoor : Starting at  Pat=o Planter s S 19 99  Filled with blooming annuals or perennials Indoor Basket Starting at Gardens $2499 Filled with green and blooming houseplants 'Hanoino Startin e at elasKe[s !.. i Gift .Certificates 'Don't know what to gwe? You can't go wrong with a gift certificate! Blooming Rose Bushes Gift wrapped s2995 5 gal. You'll be sure to put a smile on Mom's face with a beautiful fresh floral arrangement. Our roots are deep in Plumas County Quality & Experience Since 1946 Where we love our plants enough to raise them here 41796 Hwy. 70, Quincy Full Service Florist  Don't forget, we deliver! Open: Near Feather River College ............... Mon.-Fri.: 8:30am - 5:3ttnm  | 283-2010 ll mmmmmm Sat. 9am-5prn ................................. ..: ................ Closed Sun. iiiiiiii iiiiiiii iiiiiii i ilu uuunu UHHIIlUU