Justice for Andrew Holland: Call on Sheriff Ian Parkinson to Resign

Torture has occurred in our county jail and no one has been held accountable. Leaving someone restrained for 46 hours until he dies, all while he sits in his own urine and waste is one of the biggest criminal justice travesties we’ve ever seen. The sheriff must go immediately. He has lied to the community, failed our most vulnerable, and put a stain on San Luis Obispo County’s name.

The Tribune has reported the story and release video tape of the incident.

We stand with the Holland family and call for justice and reform:

  1. Separate the positions of Sheriff and Coroner. There is a natural and unavoidable conflict of interest anytime there is a custodial death or other death involving the Sheriff’s Office. The manner in which Sheriff Parkinson utilized a compromised medical examiner to render “natural causes” determinations underscores the problem.
  2. Hire a professional to run the jail. Sheriffs are largely elected for their perceived law enforcement credentials and rarely, if ever, is any consideration given to the fact that they are also the County’s jailers. With state-mandated realignment, the jails have become increasingly like prisons and Parkinson and other Sheriffs often times appoint individuals with no correctional experience to oversee the jails. It’s time to put a professional in charge.
  3. Citizen oversight. Institute an independent citizens’ oversight committee to provide transparency and accountability until the jail can deliver constitutional minimum standards of health care and humane treatment.
  4. Develop a dedicated psychiatric hospital to treat mentally ill inmates and provide competency restoration. Our current system of indiscriminately placing the mentally ill in jail for crimes arising from their mental illness is broken and simply does not work.

To achieve these reforms and rebuild trust between the community and law enforcement, Sheriff Parkinson must immediately resign and withdraw from the upcoming election. Cover-ups and skirting responsibility are not acceptable. Additionally, since becoming sheriff, 12 other deaths have also occurred, giving the jail a death rate of in-custody inmates that is three times the national average. How many more Andrew’s were there? This is unacceptable and must never happen again.