RBGG’s Ernest Galvan was quoted in an article in the Daily Cal on March 20, 2023 on the death of four incarcerated persons in Santa Rita jail over the past six weeks, which has sparked a strong response from community groups demanding immediate change.  See: ‘No concern for safety’: Deaths, allegations of abuse, controversy at Santa Rita Jail provoke community outrage.

According to the Daily Cal

“’When the government takes custody of a person, the officials in charge have a responsibility to look out for the person’s safety and health,’ Galvan said in an email. ‘Jails are the worst places for people in medical and mental health crises. Alameda County, the criminal courts, and the D.A. need to conduct a top to bottom review of incarceration policies.’

While action has been taken to prevent more deaths and mistreatment at SRJ, Galvan noted that the issue is much larger than the jail. The district attorney and the courts must ‘overhaul’ their systems and detain less people, Galvan added.”

RBGG represents eight prisoners in a class action case filed in December 2018 against Alameda County on behalf of all incarcerated persons, including all those 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.  In January 2019, the Court certified a class of all persons who are, or will be, incarcerated at the Santa Rita Jail as well as a subclass of all incarcerated persons with psychiatric disabilities who are, or will be incarcerated at the Jail.  On February 7, 2022, the Court approved a Consent Decree to address problems at the Jail.  Over the next six years RBGG, as Class Counsel will work with the Defendants, the Joint Experts, and the Department of Justice to reform Alameda County Jail in areas covered by the Consent Decree.  RBGG will do this through consulting with class members; developing and implementing policies, procedures, and trainings; monitoring the Jail with the Joint Experts; and if necessary, enforcing the Consent Decree before the Court.  More information about the case, including court documents and a copy of the consent decree, is available here.