For Immediate Release
January 26, 2022 – San Francisco, CA –A proposed settlement has been reached in Babu, et al., v. County of Alameda, et al., N.D. Cal. No. 5:18-cv-07677. A hearing regarding final approval of the settlement was held on January 19, 2022 before United States Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins and a follow-up hearing to allow the court to hear from incarcerated members of the class will take place on Thursday, January 27.
“We don’t accept the false choice between reforming the criminal justice system and taking care of the people in the jail,” said Jeffrey Bornstein of Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld, co-counsel for plaintiffs. “People are suffering and dying right now in Santa Rita Jail because they are locked down and isolated without mental health care. The objections raised by non-party community objectors at the hearing of January 19 focused on closing or otherwise restricting who can be sent to the Jail, laudable goals that the County can begin to address to some extent with diversion, housing and vocational programs especially with respect to those with mental health issues”
Bornstein continued, “Maybe closing the jail is the perfect choice. But we don’t have the option of letting our clients continue to suffer and die while we wait for the perfect solution. The fact is that we can do both. We can bring services into the jail to protect the people who are there while at the same time demanding that Alameda County’s elected leaders reduce the number of people who are sent there.”
“There has been no meaningful mental health care treatment in the Jail for many years and this settlement when implemented fully will lead to significant change,” added Kara Janssen, senior counsel at RBGG. “The Consent Decree mandates comprehensive mental health services including, regular mental health rounds, electronic tracking of referrals, prompt delivery of medication, group therapy, treatment planning teams, creation of confidential spaces for services, and discharge planning including coordinating with community-based mental health services.” The Consent Decree also sets new, significantly higher minimum requirements for out-of-cell time.”
In August 2021, after nearly three years of factual investigation, tours, and negotiation, the parties entered into a Consent Decree to resolve all class and subclass claims for injunctive relief raised in this case regarding conditions at the Jail, The Court granted preliminary approval of the Consent Decree on September 24, 2021
A copy of the proposed Consent Decree and related court documents can be found here.
Selected Media Coverage:
Amid jail conditions settlement, a new voice is heard: the incarcerated, San Francisco Chronicle, January 30, 2022
Alameda County agrees with the incarcerated: Santa Rita Jail needs overhaul, KTVU, January 28, 2022
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