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Press Release Story

Amended Yuba County Jail Consent Decree
(Posted 8/23/2018)

The Parties to the action Hedrick v. Grant, Eastern District of California No. 2:76 CV 00162 have reached an agreement on an Amended Consent Decree relating to the operation of the Yuba County Jail (the “Jail”) in Marysville, California. The agreement follows over a year of discussions between Plaintiffs’ counsel, who represent a class consisting of all prisoners in the Jail, and counsel for Yuba County to address the conditions in the Jail and the increasing demands on the Jail relating to services for inmates. During the discussions, the parties worked cooperatively in identifying issues and coming up with solutions in order to better serve the needs of inmates. The Amended Consent Decree, which updates and revises the original 1979 Consent Decree, sets forth the parties’ agreement. The Amended Consent Decree must now be presented to the Court for approval. Pursuant to the Amended Consent Decree, the County has now agreed, among other things, to conduct a thorough review and remediation of suicide hazards; to improve its medical and mental health care; to increase mental health care staffing; to update policies on the use of Safety Cells, especially for inmates in mental health crisis; to provide more access to exercise, recreation, and out-of-cell time for all prisoners, and particularly for those in administrative segregation; to improve detoxification protocols; and to provide access to inpatient psychiatric care when needed. All prisoners entering the Jail will now be evaluated by medical, not correctional staff. The County has also agreed to update its policies and practices relating to the Americans with Disabilities Act in order to improve access to Jail programs, activities, and services for prisoners with disabilities, and to provide other forms of assistance necessary to ensure equal access for prisoners with disabilities. The County of Yuba does not agree that the conditions of the Jail fall below legal requirements. However, the parties both recognized that working cooperatively to reach an agreement on the actions to be taken and the services to be provided was in best interest of the parties. Part of the agreement is that Plaintiffs’ counsel, along with County officials, will monitor and enforce, if necessary, implementation of and compliance with the Amended Consent Decree. The Amended Consent Decree arises out of settlement negotiations ordered by the Hon. Edmund F. Brennan in response to two motions filed by the Plaintiff Class: 1) to enforce the original, 1979 Consent Decree and for further remedial orders, filed by Plaintiffs on October 24, 2016, and 2) for leave to file a supplemental complaint under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), filed by Plaintiffs on November 16, 2016. Between April 2017 and August 2018, Plaintiffs’ counsel, the Yuba County Sheriff, other Yuba County officials, and attorneys for Yuba County conducted six in-person and dozens of telephonic negotiation sessions. The Hon. Kendall Newman, United States Magistrate Judge of the Eastern District of California, presided over all negotiations. The Plaintiff Class is represented by Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP (“RBGG”) and the King Hall Civil Rights Clinic at the University of California Davis School of Law (the “Clinic”). The Clinic was appointed by the Court as Plaintiffs’ counsel and RBGG joined as co-counsel for the Plaintiff Class in 2014. Yuba County is represented by County Counsel Courtney Abril and Carl Fessenden of Porter Scott.

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