“Please Help!” Inside Scoop of Inhumane Conditions at Sacramento County Jail

Someone wrote to us and let us know about the cancellation of rehabilitation programs, widespread neglect of potentially serious medical issues and more in Sacramento County Jail. Here is an edited version of their comments, with some changes made for clarity and to protect the source’s identity.

“We are furious, angry and just baffled. Today we usually have a group/class called XYZ. Well instead of having class we got informed that there are no longer any programs/classes/groups in this jail. All programs have stopped. They are no longer offering any kind of rehabilitation. This is so unfair, and sad….”

“…before we used to have to be write-up free in order to participate in program. So those who were serious about wanting to stay enrolled in programs did our best to remain write-up free. These programs gave us somewhat of an incentive to do our best not to get written up.”

“So now I guess we get to be locked up like animals in a cage, coming out of the cell for one hour a day if that.”

“I am also having issues with the medical here, it’s the worst. People are catching mersa. This jail really should be condemned, there’s mold in this place. I wish you could see the shower we have no choice but to shower in. It’s crazy the water that’s in the officer’s station bathroom is not the same water that’s in the cells we’re housed in.”

“Please help! What can we do? Who else can we tell about this? Let’s get this situation on the news, make some noise about it so that we can fight against the injustice they are doing to us.”

In omitted sections, the writer also makes clear that the jail’s programs director has been trying to make a positive difference but is being stymied from above.

Sacramento Jail has already been in the news for medical neglect, but the neglect is not just medical, it is comprehensive and malicious. Sheriff Scott Jones, who’s department oversees the jail, has appeared at events put on by a “suit-and-tie” white supremacist hate group known as FAIR (Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform). Here is what the Southern Poverty Law Center says about FAIR. Given this context, how can we act surprised when Black and Brown people suffer and die in his custody?

The scandal-plagued Scott Jones has said he is not running for re-election, and even if we take him at his word, we can only assume his likely successor, Captain Jim Barnes, a 22-year veteran of the department, will be more of a continuation than a welcome change. Also, per California state law, only police officers can run for Sheriff. However, there is a new bill to undo this terrible decision which you can ask your California representatives to support.

Here are some additional actions you can take to help people suffering in our jail:

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