According to Department of Correction Chief Edward Flores, the Grand Jury report is being assessed, and a response will be submitted to the county Board of Supervisors within three months.
"We're trying to come up with some creative ways to resolve the concerns with the limitations we have," Flores
According to Flores
, vocational training is offered at Elmwood "as the physical plant allows us to."He
said the jail is limited by the facilities it has to offer various vocational training.According to the Grand Jury report, male inmates can take training in blueprint reading, cabinetmaking, carpentry, computers classes, food safety, industrial safety, landscaping, upholstery or welding, while female inmates can take computer classes.Landscaping was formerly offered to women also, but Flores
said there was difficulty in garnering interest.
Of Elmwood's 2,500 male inmates, about 900 are eligible for vocational training, while 150 of the 520 women are eligible for the program.Flores
said there are matching computer training classes in both the men's and women's facilities.But, he
said all other vocational programs are on the men's side.
"We don't mix and match men and women," Flores
said."We'd either need to construct a facility or retrofit to do a cooking class."
According to a survey conducted by the Grand Jury, female inmates would be interested in taking classes in cooking, medical records, cosmetology, sewing, jewelry making, carpentry, manicuring, landscaping and upholstery.The report recommends working to fairly allocate available resources to achieve gender parity in vocational courses.Flores
said much focus is placed on substance abuse and parenting classes for female inmates.He
said 60 to 80 percent of Elmwood inmates have some type of substance abuse problem, and explained that substance-abuse classes are often mandated by the court.
With regard to the report's finding that Inmate Welfare Funds were used to support DOC salary and overhead expense, Flores
said the positions paid with the funds "all support in one way or another the inmate programs."
...Chief Flores said the Depart-ment of Correction will respond to the report, but pointed out that budgetary constraints have had a major impact on staffing in the jail.