SAN LUIS OBISPO — The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office, along with San Luis Obispo County, announced it is a recipient of the 2020 Challenge Award from the California State Association of Counties (CSAC).

In the category of “Administration of Justice and Public Safety,” San Luis Obispo County won for the Sheriff’s Office Behavioral Health Incentive Program. This program is committed to reducing the number of days individuals with severe mental illness are in County Jail and provide them with tools to increase their positive social interactions and decrease recidivism rates.

The Incentive Program rewards inmates when they practice proper hygiene, clean their cells, assist in cleaning shared/common areas, engage in programs offered, exercise, attend mental/medical health appointments, and interact with others.

The Incentive Program has resulted in a significant decrease in the number of jail assaults, while at the same time, it has greatly reduced the time inmates have been placed in isolation cells.


“We have made significant positive changes in our Jail in the way we manage our mentally ill population,” said SLO County Sheriff Ian Parkinson. “I am pleased we have been recognized by a statewide organization for this honor, which only serves to reinforce our dedication to this issue as we strive to keep improving.”

To make this program possible, the County Jail reorganized the housing placement of inmates, trained staff for specialized positions, and contracted with the California Department of State Hospitals to implement a Jail Based Competency Treatment Program (JBCT), which is designed to provide care, treatment and services to assist patients in becoming competent to stand trial.

This year CSAC received a record 363 entries from counties throughout California. San Luis Obispo County was only one of three counties in the state to receive recognition in this category.