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Quincy, California
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June 23, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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Page 15 Plumas County Grand Jury Report the kitchen was adequate and clean but is overdue for a fire inspection. Meals are well-prepared and nutritious. Recommendations: 1: New jail is needed In the last Grand Jury report it was noted that Plumas County is to receive state funding for a new courthouse. A new jail facility must be part of the planned construction, one with improved design to insure better inmate monitoring and more consistent communication between staff. 2: Critical Need 2: Short of the building of a new facility, it is imperative that the current jail be provided a safer enclosure for the exercise yard which would prevent escape attempts and ensure greater exclusion from the outside public. 3: Soundproofing one of the jail rooms might enable the use of video arraignment, thereby reducing the need for dangerous transportation of inmates to the current courthouse. 4: Critical need An efficient and dependable communication system needs to be installed in the current facil- ity so thatquick responses would help mitigate any emergencies arising within. Staffing: Finding 1: The current level of 15 correctional offi- cers (three of 18 are on long term sick leave) is whol- ly inadequate for a jail of this size. While the staff is doing a superb job ]n our estimation. Understaffing encourages dangerous and threatening conditions to exist for both staff and inmates alike. Finding 2: Because of the numerous programs going on during the evening and graveyard shift involving much movement of inmates the possibility of dis- ruption or attack are greatest at this time. They are manned by only two officers, too few to respond effec- tively and safely to any problems. Finding 3: Beside the potential problems expressed in the previous findings, there exists the possibility for future lawsuits, costing the county millions of dollars in settlements. Finding 4: Inspections by the California Dept of cor- rections and rehabilitation have found the current jail to be understaffed by a minimum of five correc- tional officers. In addition, four previous grand juries and this one have also found the jail staffing to be terribly inadequate and unsafe. Recommendation - Critical need: The Board of Supervisors should immediately seek funding to bring staffing up to an adequate level. Yes it will be expensive, (the Sheriff estimates it will cost $500,000 to bring on five new officers) but this Grand Jury is convinced it's not a matter of if something tragic will happen, but when Programs and Procedures: Finding 1: The procedure for booking and detaining arrestees is secure and efficient. Because of the inade- quate staffing, the exercise areas are potentially prob- lematic. The workout room can hold only 20 inmates at a time with one officer monitoring them. The exercise yard has only one officer monitoring of 35 inmates at a time. This ratio is totally inadequate for individuals with violent and/or psychotic proclivities. Finding 2: The gri.vancp, prcme. for inmat. ,md to be adequate. Concerns of the inmates are appro- priately addressed and dealt with. Finding 3: Programs offered at the jail include: edu- cational, religious, medical/dental and mental health. Not offered, because of a lack of need for them or as a result of the minimal time spent at the facility, (all inmates are released within one year) are programs con- cerned with; vocational, domestic violence, victim/gang, diversity awareness and work furlough activities. Recommendation: Considering the lack of space andstaffing, the Grand Jury feels the jail is doing all it can to provide the needed programs for inmates to utilize. Assistance from various community organizations on an as need- ed basis is certainly greatly needed and appreciated. Conclusion: In spite of the inadequate staffing and outdated facil- ity, the Plumas County jail does a superb job in serv- ing the citizens of Plumas County. ...... It is imperative, however, hat we move forward toward the establishment of a new jail or to address- ing the critical needs currently jeopardizing the effi- ciency and safety of the jail and its staff The Grand Jury expects meaningful responses from the Board of Supervisors and associated commit- tees and departments. Waiting for a major tragic event to occur before substantial action is taken is unacceptable. We will work with the deciding bodies to correct the concern of the county correctional facility, which has been on the books for more than a decade. We owe to our peacekeepers - tle one who protect us from the dark elements of our community- at least that. Stimulus Grant Funding In a review of previous Grand Jury Final Reports, the 2009-2010 Plumas County Grand noted that a need for additional funding was reiterated throughout all Jail Inspection reports. As a result, the Grand Jury looked into grant and stimulus-funding activities being performed by Plumas County government. Grant funding needs are unique to each county depart- ment, so grant writing usually occurs in each depart- ment, jail included. However, the Grand Jury found that the pursuit of federal stimulus funds is led by the Stimulus Task Force Originating Committee. This committee consists of seven task force members, and participating members: School District (1), Feather River College (1), Hospitals (3), Plumas County Management Council (24), Economic Recovery Committee (12) and the Board of Supervisors (5). The Grand Jury requested and was granted permis- sion to attend and observe the next Stimulus Task Force Originating Committee meeting which was then scheduled for February 24, 2010. Two Grand Jm-y paael members attended'the meeting, held in the Board of Supervisors room at the Courthouse in Quincy. Of the forty-six members and participants, three task force and two Plumas County Management Council members were in attendance. The Grand Jury felt that the meeting was quite infor- mtiv rpt-rlln ht if fize fn f ctirnh]c nnHo and the requirements to get them. We found that stimulus grant funding is not just free money; there is a catch to getting some of these federal funds. For exam- pie the County Sheriff said that he requested $250,000 for funding two new deputy sheriff positions. The request was turned down because there is not enough crime in Plumas County, according to the federal Government. Additionally' if awarded the funds, after two years, the county would have to fund the new posi- tions permanently, if. not done, the county would be required to return the stimulus funds to the Federal Government. Following are some of the projects theStimulus Task Force Originating Committee members are working on: $2.2 million for Forest service, environmental , Beckwourth Fire station, breaking ground in June or July; reverse 911 system Federal Grant of $100,000 plus, almost complete; $108,000 energy grant, joint venture with Feather River College. Also being requested - a grant for Feather River College and three other colleges for training programs in renew- al technology; biomass-solar-wind energy, baby boomer replacement programs in partners with PGE; $440,000 for weatherizing programs for low income, $35,000 for health and human services; broadband development between Chilcoot and Keddie, $2.5 million Airports-FFA, and $1,473,450 for road projects, Bucks Lake Road. Spanish Creek over- pass, $28,000,000; creek projects, trails; $1,000,000, new trails in - 5 years. Fuel reduction work, $200,000. Visitors center at Chester Airpbrt, amount unknown; Johnsville ski lift operations, $2.7 million, Sierra Nevada College courses in ski hill operations. Based on what was described to the Grand Jury, it appears that the committee is doing all that they can to get all the stimulus funds possible for the county as well as for the jail. Attendees made it clear that the competition to gain stimulus funding is very stiff, and just applying for it does not necessarily mean that they will get the funds. Appendix A Function of the Grand Jury The Plumas County Grand Jury is a body of nineteen Plumas County citizens charged and sworn to inquire into matters of civil concern within the boundaries of Plumas County and any incorporated city within these boundaries. Appendix B lists the County and City Departments that are open to Grand Jury inquiry' Grand Jury duties, powers, responsibilities, qualifications and selection processes are set forth in the California Penal Code Section 888 et seq. See Appendix D. The Grand Jury functions lawfully only as a body. No individual grand juror may act alone and has no authority to act alone. Meetings of the Grand Jury are not open to the public. The Penal Code requires that all matters discussed before the Grand Jury and all delib- erations are to be kept private and confidential. The end result of all investigations into civil matters is released to the public in a final report, which sets forth the findings and recommendations of the Grand Jury. Participation in Grand Jury service is an opportuni- ty for citizens from various communities within the county to work together, get an in-depth look at local government, and to make informed recommenda- tions which may improve and enhance services. The effclivues of a Grand Jury is determined not only " by the selection of topics, agencies and entities to be reviewed, but also by the sitting panel's thorough