Costa

Contra Costa must better jail conditions under court agreement

MARTINEZ — Contra Costa County’s jails will be monitored for at least three years to ensure health care conditions improve as laid out by a court-approved consent decree.

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a settlement stemming from a complaint in 2016 by three inmates who alleged the county’s jails don’t meet standards of the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits subjecting criminal defendants to unduly harsh punishment, or requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Under the agreement reached with the Prison Law Office, which represented the plaintiffs, court-appointed experts will monitor the county’s progress in implementing two plans designed to improve jail conditions for medical and mental health care. The Prison Law Office will also monitor and be able to tour the jails. The county must prepare its own progress reports every six months.

While the agreement’s terms are officially effective for five years, county officials can seek to

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