DRC Report Says Jail Inmates with Mental Health Disabilities Are Often Mistreated

Santa Barbara Independent
Media Coverage

"Last April marked the first time an outside group inspected the County Jail since 2007. The highly anticipated — and largely damning — findings made public this week criticize the amount of time inmates are placed in small, windowless “safety cells,” or “rubber rooms,” as they’re known.

“The county is a real outlier in California and nationally with this practice,” said Melinda Bird, an attorney with Disability Rights California, the state-mandated advocacy group seeking to protect the rights of inmates with mental-health disabilities. Most jails do not hold inmates in a safety cell for more than a few hours, Bird said; Disability Rights found inmates with mental illness and behavior problems were housed in safety cells for “three days at a time on a repeated basis” and that custody staff confirmed placement was “not temporary.”"