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SBSD - Headquarters
Thursday December 13th, 2018 :: 02:08 p.m. PST


Final settlement reached in San Bernardino Jail Class Action

Contacts:          Public Affairs Division, Sheriff’s Department Public Affairs Division (909) 387-3700
On December 12, 2018, Judge Virginia A. Phillips approved a settlement agreement between San Bernardino County and plaintiffs confined in the county jails, who are represented by the Prison Law Office (PLO). The settlement addresses medical and mental health care of inmates, restrictive housing practices, staffing levels, ADA compliance, and use of force policies and procedures.  Judge Phillips congratulated the parties on working cooperatively and cost-effectively to resolve the outstanding issues. 
In August 2014, the San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner’s Department (SBSD) was approached by the PLO regarding conditions in the county jails, including inmates’ medical and mental health care and use of force policies. The parties agreed to hire neutral experts to evaluate the issues raised by the PLO. The experts conducted extensive tours of the jail facilities and reviewed policies and procedures. They also interviewed staff and inmates.  Meanwhile, the PLO filed a class action lawsuit against the county in 2016 on behalf of inmates in the county jails.  After receiving the experts’ reports outlining their findings and recommendations, the SBSD and the PLO negotiated a remedial plan that was eventually incorporated into a proposed settlement agreement and consent decree to resolve all outstanding issues.
Now that the consent decree has been signed, the SBSD will enter a monitoring phase with the court experts having reasonable access to jails, jail records, staff, and inmates over the next four years to ensure compliance with the terms of the settlement.
Regarding the signed settlement, PLO Executive Director Don Specter offered, “This agreement ensures that the conditions in San Bernardino’s county jails will meet constitutional standards.”  Specter added, “This agreement, which avoided costly litigation, would not have been possible without the cooperation and transparency of Sheriff John McMahon and his staff.”  Sheriff McMahon reiterated his appreciation of the PLO’s willingness to work cooperatively with the county throughout the process in resolving this case.  McMahon advised his department “is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of the inmates within our care and custody.”

SBSD - Headquarters
655 E 3rd St
San Bernardino, CA 92408

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