RBGG’s Ernest Galvan, Jeffrey Bornstein, and Kara Janssen represent eight named plaintiffs in a class action case filed in December 2018 against Alameda County on behalf of all prisoners, including prisoners with psychiatric disabilities, challenging the unconstitutional use of isolation, denial of constitutionally adequate mental health treatment, and unlawful segregation of prisoners with mental illness into units without access to programming and other basic services at the County’s Santa Rita and Glenn Dyer Jails. Since the filing of the lawsuit the County closed the Glenn Dyer Jail, located in downtown Oakland, in June of 2019 and the case continues regarding conditions at the Santa Rita Jail located in Dublin.
On January 21, 2019, the Court certified a class of all prisoners who are, or will be, incarcerated at the Santa Rita Jail as well as a subclass of all prisoners with psychiatric disabilities who are, or will be incarcerated at the Jail. The eight prisoners represented by RBGG have been designated as representatives of the class and subclass.
Four independent experts have issued reports and made recommendations for significant changes at the jail to address the issues identified by the lawsuit:
- Classification and Restrictive Housing Report, James Austin
- Custody Report, Terri McDonald
- Mental Health Report, Kerry Hughes MD
- Disability Access Report, Sabot Consulting, 12-9-2019
- Staffing Study of Alameda County Jail, Sabot Consulting, 04-19-2020
Plaintiff’s counsel and Alameda County representatives are engaged in a court supervised mediation process discussing those and other suggested changes.
The case is Babu v. County of Alameda, United States District Court, Northern District of California, Case 4:18-cv-07677, filed December 21, 2018.
Selected media coverage
Alameda County jail lawsuit alleges bad conditions for inmates with mental illness, East Bay Times, December 21, 2018
Class action claims women exposed to severe sleep deprivation, Courthouse News Service, December 31, 2018 (RBGG’s Ernest Galvan is quoted about Babu v. County of Alameda in the second half of this article, which leads with a description of a different lawsuit.)
The most dangerous place in Alameda County, East Bay Express, May 7, 2019
Death rate at Santa Rita exceeds nation’s largest jail system as critics call for reform, KTVU, October 1, 2019
Former inmates face delay in Medi-Cal coverage upon release from jail, Oakland North, November 18, 2019
Family seeks to shed light on Marine’s death, California’s lax isolation laws, KTVU, November 24, 2019