October 21, 2014
Final Reports
San Mateo Courts - Civil Grand Jury

2002-2003 Report:

Correctional Facility Maintenance and Management

Summary | Background | Findings | Conclusions | Recommendations| Response

Issue:

Are the correctional facilities in San Mateo County properly maintained and managed?

Background:

Penal Code #919(b) states that ďthe grand jury shall inquire into the condition and management of the public prisons within the county.Ē

The Grand Jury toured the premises and grounds of each facility and met with the officers and staff of the Maguire Correctional Facility (MCF), the Menís Honor Camp, the Womenís Correctional Center (WCC) and Womenís Honor Camp.

The Maguire Correctional Facility is the screen facility for all inmates and a maximum security jail for male inmates. The architectural pod layout allows supervision in groups and lock down into individual cells. The Menís Honor camp is located in a remote setting in La Honda. It is low security facility for specially screened inmates who fit the criteria of good behavior and low security risk.

The Womenís Correctional Center is a maximum security jail built in 1980. Adjacent to it in a separate building is the Womenís Honor Camp, which houses inmates who are low security risks and are rewarded for good behavior.

The Grand Jury observed the way that inmates were supervised and managed, the interaction between the staff and the inmates and condition and environment of the inmate facilities.

Findings:

Table 1 on page 2 illustrates the capacity and services at each facility.

Maguire Correctional Facility

  • Inmates are classified on their current psychological state, consideration of gang affiliation, past criminal activity and physical attributes so that their grouping does not create hazards to their cellmates.

  • Donated clothing is available for court appearances.
Table 1
Capacity and Services at San Mateo County Correctional Facilities
 
Mcguire Correctional Facility
Men's Honor Camp
Women's Correctional Center
Women's Honor Camp
Health care services
On call Doctor

Nurse 24/7
First aid onsite emergencies to hospital
Weekday nurse
Weekday nurse
Educational and improvement classes
G.E.D., Anger Management, AA, Narcotics Anonymous, Choices counseling, Fathers and families
G.E.D., Anger Management, AA, Narcotics Anonymous
G.E.D., Anger Management, AA, Narcotics Anonymous, Choices counseling
G.E.D., Anger Management, AA, Narcotics Anonymous
Library
Recreational and Law library part time staff
Recreational library
Recreational library and loan out from MCF
Recreational library and loan out from MCF
Exercise And Workout equipment
Yes
Yes
Yes, in poor condition
Yes
Rehabilitation opportunities
Food Preparation and laundry
Fire safe program, food prep
None
Food preparation/ Bakery apprentice program
Current (Approximate) population/ bed rated Capacity
876/1047
74/165
123/151
15/30

Men's Honor Camp
  • This facility offers several community benefit programs such as fire suppression and trail maintenance. Materials and equipment for these programs are stored on site.

  • Assignment to this facility is a motivation for good behavior due to the lower security higher privilege atmosphere.

Women's Correctional Center
  • Solid glass separates visitors from inmates and an intercom system allows communication. The Grand Jury found that the intercom system had been inoperable for some time; inmates and visitors had to shout to communicate. On a return visit the Grand Jury found the system had been repaired.

  • The Grand Jury learned that there were areas that could not be supervised due to: 1) lack of staffing, 2) male officers are restricted from entering the womenís bathrooms, and 3) there is no means of visual or electronic surveillance. It was also evident that many areas provided seclusion and opportunity for a distraught inmate to attempt suicide. An officer in the facility stated that staff could not watch all the inmates and could not prevent a determined inmate from committing suicide. Supervision is hindered by the physical floor plan.

  • Currently bed rated cells are used for intake and isolation.

  • There has been only one death in the womanís facility since it was built. The Grand Jury did not investigate the recent death of an inmate.

Women's Honor Camp
  • Supervision is minimal during the day and absent after 6:00 p.m.

  • The camp has two positions for outside work placements to teach baking and pastry skills.

Both the menís and womenís honor camps are scheduled for closure in July 2003 due to budget considerations.

Conclusions:

The correctional facilities currently operating in San Mateo County appear to be properly maintained and managed.

While not within the scope of this review, the Grand Jury urges the Sheriff to continue providing those beneficial programs, currently offered by the honor camps, that promote inmate rehabilitation.

Recommendations:
 
Response



© 2014 Superior Court of San Mateo County