Serve on commission reviewing jail operations for Santa Clara County jails, applications due

SANTA CLARA COUNTY (BCN) — Applications are due Friday to serve on a blue ribbon commission examining operations and making recommendations to improve Santa Clara County jails in response to an inmate death in August.

The commission is being formed at the call of the county’s board of supervisors in response to the alleged beating death of 31-year-old Michael James Tyree, a mentally ill inmate, at the Main Jail in San Jose.

Jereh Lubrin, 28, Matthew Farris, 27, and Rafael Rodriguez, 27, have each been arraigned on a murder charge in Tyree’s death and assault under the color of authority charge on another inmate, Juan Villa. They are out of custody on $1.5 million bail and are scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 9.

Board president Dave Cortese and Supervisor Cindy Chavez introduced last month plans for the commission and addressing safety concerns at the jails.

The committee will face the task of reviewing multiple aspects of custody operations including use for force by correctional staff, training opportunities and mental health needs.

Last week, the board approved a plan to take the necessary steps in forming the commission that is expected to include representatives from the community including an active or retired judge, mental health expert, clergy member, former inmate and civil rights organizer.

About one-third of the seats have been classified for the public at large, Chavez said.

The commission has already designated county officials including Sheriff Laurie Smith, Undersheriff John Hirokawa, who’s chief of corrections, and District Attorney Jeff Rosen to the commission.

For the next six months, the commission of up to 25 members will make reports to the board and its committees.

Prospective commission members will have to attend public meetings at the County Government Center at 70 W. Hedding St. that are expected to take place during business hours.

Cortese will appoint the commission’s members that will be announced at the board’s Tuesday meeting.

The applications are available online at and must include a resume
and statement of interest. They must be submitted to the to the Office of the Clerk of the Board by 5 p.m. Friday by email to or mail to County of Santa Clara, Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, Attn: Records Unit, 70 W. Hedding St., East Wing, 10th Floor, San Jose, CA 95110.

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