The Board of Supervisors unanimously permitted an emergency measure Tuesday geared toward addressing the variety of drug overdose deaths in San Diego County jails.
Proposed by board Chairman Nathan Fletcher, the measure contains $200,000 for physique scanner expertise to intercept and cease medicine equivalent to fentanyl from being introduced into the jails.
The measure contains expediting employees incentives and methods included in an worker compensation ordinance additionally handed Tuesday, exploring new methods for care and security, together with further wellness groups and expanded entry to medication-assisted therapy, and the acquisition of a further physique scanner, with the choice for eight extra over the following 5 years.
Supervisors will obtain a report on how the measure is working in 60 days.
Tuesday’s motion comes within the wake of rising criticism over the variety of overdose-related deaths in county jails. In keeping with the county, there have been 15 such deaths to this point this yr, with 5 in July alone.
Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer mentioned the county is dealing with a disaster in its jails and has been for a very long time, “however this July has been devastating.”
In a press release after the vote, Fletcher mentioned it “has been tough for the sheriff’s division to rent medical employees in our jails to assist tackle drug overdoses and deputies to guard and serve as a result of these are onerous jobs.”
“We consider the incentives we permitted will assist to speed up hiring, and permit us to extra rapidly rehabilitate the individuals in custody,” Fletcher added.
The compensation ordinance serves a companion coverage to the emergency measure “as a result of collectively they ship extra instruments and staffing to assist save lives and strengthen the division’s means to take away fentanyl and different medicine from county jails,” Fletcher mentioned.
In October 2019, Fletcher requested a evaluation of finest practices of jail operations, together with a compilation of suggestions to enhance the system.
In June 2020, he launched a proposal giving higher authority to the Residents’ Legislation Enforcement Overview Board for elevated civilian oversight of jail operations.
In March, supervisors voted to simply accept a state audit that outlined considerations and proposals for care offered in county jails.
Three months later, supervisors permitted methods to handle public security officer and county jail staffing challenges, together with these in medical and behavioral well being positions.
Metropolis Information Service contributed to this text.