Riverside County first in the state to have areas of oversight removed for mental and medical care of inmates.

A U.S. District Federal Court judge upheld an agreement this month between the County of Riverside and the Prison Law Office, recognizing the county has met 13 requirements in a court-monitored agreement over medical and mental healthcare available to jail inmates.

As a result of substantially completing 13 areas of the settlement, the court and the Prison Law Office will cease monitoring of those areas of medical and mental healthcare to inmates. The County of Riverside is the first in the state to reach the stage of removing such areas of oversight. Other counties throughout California have entered similar settlements with the Prison Law Office regarding care provided to inmates.

“This is significant and marks a crucial first step towards recognizing the county’s efforts to provide medical and mental health care treatment for inmates,” said Chair Kevin Jeffries, First District Supervisor. “This is a demonstration from outside entities – the independent Federal court and the original plaintiffs in the suit – that acknowledge not just the progress made, but that there is no longer a need to continue monitoring specific areas.”

The judge’s ruling establishes the county’s completion of requirements, including intake screenings by registered nurses, access to confidential health care request forms, referrals for follow up appointments, dedicated patient treatment areas, supply of prescription medications, use of an electronic health records system and integrated housing for those with assistive devices.

Oversight Removed for Medical Care of Inmates

Sheriff Chad Bianco

“I am very pleased with the court’s ruling,” said Sheriff Chad Bianco. “It recognizes the dedication and commitment of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office and Riverside University Health System, not only to provide the utmost of care to our inmates, but it also shows we are consistently providing the type of care that can be a model for the rest of the state.”

The county continues progress toward other required areas, which remain monitored by the court and Prison Law Office. The county entered the settlement with the Prison Law Office in 2016, during former Sheriff Stan Sniff’s tenure, which called for a court-monitored remedial plan covering medical and mental health treatment, including timeliness of medical care, medication administration, use of an electronic healthcare records system, staffing and training, among others.

“The county’s compliance with 13 items in the court’s 2016 order is an important step towards improved care for people in the jails, and we appreciate the efforts by staff to make it happen,” said Sara Norman, deputy director of the Prison Law Office and counsel for plaintiffs in the case. “More work remains to be done and we look forward to continued progress.”

Image Sources

  • Sheriff Chad Bianco: Riverside County Sheriff's Department
  • Robert Presley Detention Center: RivCo Sheriff Department