May 18, 2016

Jail Reformers in Santa Clara, CA Seek IOA-Compliant Ombuds

An independent commission appointed by the Board of Supervisors in Santa Clara County California has recommended systemic changes for its troubled jail system. (A separate report had traced some of the problems to a lack of staffing, training, funding and a deeply divided work culture.) In particular, the Blue Ribbon Commission recommended the appointment five Organizational Ombuds to work with inmates, families, and staff as a supplement for external oversight and accountability programs.

The BRC recommended:
Convert the Jail Observer Program (JOP) to an organizational ombudsman’s office, structured according to the best practice standards of the International Ombudsman Association (IOA) and modeled after the Juvenile Welfare Office of the Ombuds which operates on the basis of an Interagency Agreement between the Office of the County Executive and the Social Services Agency. [Master List No. 443]
Later, the report seems to imply that the Ombuds program may be temporary:
Create an ombudsman position to complement the work of the Jail Observation Program as an interim or on‐going measure until a more comprehensive structure is developed (such as an Independent Oversight Commission or a separate Department of Correction).
[Master List No. 19]
The adoption of the recommendations is still pending.  (BRC Master List; San Jose Mercury News.)

Related post: Job Posting: County of Santa Clara.

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