By Roxanne Squires
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office recently unveiled their new Medical Programs Unit (MPU) at the County Jail with a design that resembles a school more than an institution.
The MPU began construction shortly after moving into the new Kansas facility, starting with the demolition of the old Women’s facility.
The county previously treated inmates in the Stahl Hall, a building that is attached to the main jail – offering one examination room, one room designated for mental health treatment and a few administrative offices.
Now, in replacement, the new 8,000-square-foot facility utilizes space to better serve the facility population’s medical, dental, and mental health needs while also doubling the jail’s capacity to provide education and rehabilitation programs.
The new unit consists of an inmate waiting area, two exam rooms, a dental suite, two mental health consultation rooms, and an isolation holding cell. The staff area is comprised of additional office space, a conference room, pharmacy, a break room and medical storage rooms.
The programs area of the new facility consists of three offices and three classrooms, with inmate restrooms and one staff bathroom.
There is a net gain of five classroom for the entire project. Each classroom can be arranged in various ways to enable multi-purposed use, including hosting classes, meetings and assemblies.
This is made possible by the use of folding tables, stackable chairs, white boards, wall mounted TVs and computer connections.
The two exam rooms will increase the number of patient examinations, while the dental suite provides dental care for inmates through county contracts with Community Health Centers and allows inmates to be seen within the security of the jail instead of off-site.
The increased size and security of the waiting area allows for a wider classification of inmates to access medical staff at the same time.
Although the new unit does not include hospital beds, inmates in need of care that requires a bed will be taken to a hospital.
The facility anticipates to begin intaking both male and female patients in the coming weeks following additional training for approximately 200 staff members and other administrative steps.