“We are very disappointed by the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office’s statement regarding their “investigation” into complaints of mistreatment by dozens of women detained at the West County Detention Facility.
It should be obvious that there is an inevitable conflict of interest when an office investigates itself. There can be no justice when allegations of abuse are declared to be unfounded by the very perpetrators.
The lack of transparency regarding the investigation is telling. A report, if one exists, has not been released. Even the most basic information, such as the identity or credentials of the investigators, or their methodology, has not been made public.
It is especially disturbing that fears of retaliation were clearly never addressed or even considered. Numerous women have told CIVIC volunteers that they were too afraid to share their concerns with the officials during the interviews. This is understandable, given the incidents of retaliation that they have experienced or witnessed already. For example, of the four named complainants in the first news article about the conditions, two women have since been deported and one has been transferred to another county jail away from her community support. Furthermore, women have told us that they are still experiencing devastating 23-hour periods of being locked in their cells, and are now facing increased verbal abuse from the deputies.
We continue to stand beside these brave women who have risked retaliation to bring these abuses to light, and we reiterate the demand for a fully independent and transparent investigation followed by ongoing public oversight.”
-Rebecca Merton, National Visitation Network Program Coordinator, CIVIC