In a strategy to ward off abuse claims and lawsuits, the Sacramento County Sheriff is asking jail inmates to sign a form before they are released indicating whether they were treated properly while behind bars, reports the Sacramento Bee. Civil rights advocates are raising concerns over the “release screening form,” saying inmates may feel pressure to sign the form simply to avoid delaying their release.
Sheriff’s officials say the forms bring potential problems to their attention early. The department developed the form in early 2006, in response to excessive-force allegations. The form asks inmates if they were injured or suffered a medical problem that occurred in the jail, and whether they have a complaint about their treatment. If an inmate replies “yes” to the first question, the inmate must be seen by a nurse or doctor before being released. If an inmate replies “yes” to the second question, the inmate can choose to speak to a supervisor.