Santa Clara Sheriff Under Fire for Mistreatment of Mentally Ill Inmates

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Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith speaks during a press briefing across from the First Street VTA service yard in San Jose on May 26, 2021.

Longtime Santa Clara Sheriff Laurie Smith is facing  calls to step down from the County Board of Supervisors and  San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo for her handling of the county jail and its treatment of mentally ill inmates. In 2015, three Santa Clara County correctional officers beat a mentally ill man to death in a jail cell. In 2018, another group of county officers failed to intervene when 24-year-old Andrew Hogan suffered a traumatic brain injury while experiencing a severe psychiatric crisis. We discuss concerns about Smith’s leadership and how the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department treats mentally ill people in and out of jail.


Adhiti Bandlamudi, Silicon Valley Reporter, KQED

Alex Emslie, Reporter, KQED News

Paula Canny, attorney, who represented the families of Michael Tyree and Andew Hogan, both mentally ill men, in lawsuits against the Santa Clara County Jail and county

Lisa Dailey, executive director, Treatment Advocacy Center, an organization against the criminalization of mental illness