SANTA BARBARA COUNTY GRAND JURY 1995-96

FINAL REPORT

COUNTY DETENTION FACILITIES

Released: June 12, 1996

INTRODUCTION

In accordance with the requirements of California Penal Code Section 919(b), the Grand Jury is required to "inquire into the condition and management of the public prisons within the county." This report examines the Santa Barbara County detention facilities.

OBJECTIVE

To inspect the facilities to ensure they meet the California Code of Regulations, Title 15, Subchapter 4, Minimum Standards for local Detention Facilities, Articles 1-7 and also the U. S. constitutional standards.

APPROACH

The Grand Jury visited each county detention facility at least two times. (The first visit was announced; others were not.) During these visits inspections were made of the areas used for incarceration and other related areas pertinent to the housing of inmates. Included in the visits were interviews with administrators and inmates regarding administrative and operational procedures and problems in the detention facilities. The Director and Assistant Director of Inmate Services and the Santa Barbara County Law Librarian were interviewed. The Grand Jury read the Jay Farbstein "Justice Facilities Short Term Master Plan."

OBSERVATIONS

Men's Honor Farm - 4434 Calle Real, Santa Barbara, CA 93110

The Men's Honor Farm is a low risk facility. Each inmate recommended by the Probation Department is interviewed prior to being admitted to the honor farm program. Approximately 10% of these interviewees do not meet the admission standards. Inmates who are admitted must conform to the rules and regulations set forth by the honor farm. About 90% of the inmates finish their sentence at the honor farm. Those who do not are sent back to the jail.

This facility has a 150 bed capacity. Inmates prepare food which is provided by the Santa Barbara County Main Jail (hereafter referred to as Main Jail.). Medical services are provided by Prison Health Services, Inc. (PHS).

The Work Furlough Program allows inmates to work at their regular jobs during the day. They must return to the honor farm nights, weekends and holidays. Management of the Men's Honor Farm appears to meet required standards.

Women's Honor Farm (La Morada) - 66 South San Antonio Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93110

The facility is low risk with a capacity of 36 beds. Inmates prepare food which is provided by the Main Jail. Medical services are provided by PHS. The Work Furlough Program allows inmates to work at their regular jobs during the day. They must return to the honor farm for nights, weekends and holidays. The facility is very well managed and meets required standards.

Santa Barbara County Municipal Court Holding Facility - 118 East Figueroa Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

This is a temporary holding facility where inmates are brought in from the Main Jail for court hearings, motions and sentencing. The Grand Jury found that it is often over- crowded. Four of the eight cells are isolation cells.

Between the hours of 7:00 AM and 5:00 PM, as many as 120 inmates pass through this facility on any given day. The average is 50 inmates per day. No inmate stays overnight. Food and medical services are not required because of the short stay. The Main Jail provides sack lunches as needed.

Santa Barbara Superior Court Holding Facility - 1105 Santa Barbara Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

This is a temporary holding facility where inmates are brought in from the Main Jail for Superior Court hearings, motions and sentencing. This facility has nine two-bed cells including five cells with nonfuctioning toilets. No inmate stays overnight. Food and medical services are not required because of the short stay. The Main Jail provides sack lunches if needed.

Santa Maria Municipal Court Holding Facility - 312 East Cook Street, Santa Maria, CA 93454

This is a temporary holding facility where inmates are brought in from the Santa Barbara Main Jail and the Santa Maria Substation. These inmates are brought in for Municipal Court hearings, motions and sentencing. This facility has 12 cells staffed by four employees. The capacity of the facility is 120 people. Between the hours of 7:15 AM and 6:00 PM, the average number of inmates per day is 40. No inmates stay at this facility overnight. Food and medical services are not required because of the short stay. The Santa Maria Branch Jail provides sack lunches as needed.

New Cuyama Santa Barbara County Holding Facility - 215 Newsome Street, New Cuyama, CA 93254

This is a temporary holding facility with one cell. No inmate stays overnight. Food and medical services are not required because of the short stay. The Main Jail provides sack lunches as needed.

Santa Maria Branch Jail - 812-A West Foster Road, Santa Maria, CA 93455

The capacity of this facility is 9 cells with 35 beds for males and females. This includes one detox cell, two isolation cells and one safety cell. This facility is in operation 24 hours per day, seven days per week. The average stay at this facility is 48 hours. Medical services are provided at nearby hospitals, as required. Food service is provided by the jail. The Work Furlough Program allows inmates to work during the day. They must return to the jail for nights, weekends and holidays Management of this facility appears to meet required standards.

Santa Barbara County Main Jail - 4434 Calle Real, Santa Barbara, CA 93110

During interviews with management, correctional officers, medical staff and other personnel, the Grand Jury learned that the most pressing problems at the Main Jail are overcrowding and understaffing of correctional officers.

The official capacity of the Main Jail is 887 inmates. On March 26, 1996, the occupancy was 1,250 according to the Jail Commander. Overcrowding of inmates at the jail violates minimum jail standards. These violations are presented to a judge who may grant an exemption for short periods of time. Overcrowding has been occurring for at least 15 years. Prior Grand Jury reports have recognized this problem and brought it to the attention of the Board of Supervisors. Food service is provided by the jail staff and inmates. On site medical services are provided by PHS.

Santa Barbara County requested Jay Farbstein & Associates, Inc. prepare a report outlining problems and needs of county justice facilities. In this 1993 document entitled "Justice Facilities Short Term Master Plan," one of the specific recommendations was the construction of a North County jail facility. As of this writing, a site for the North County Jail is being considered.

The Grand Jury reviewed a pamphlet titled "The Santa Barbara County Jail Rules - Inmate Orientation/Jail Rules" last revised in October 1991 and the Santa Barbara Jail Policy and Procedures Manual last revised in September 1993 and observed inconsistencies.

Observations on the Main Jail Law Library:

Funding for the Law Library comes from the Inmate Services budget and amounts to approximately $12,000 annually. County funding used to be provided to the Law Library, but was discontinued in 1992. Assistance of approximately three hours a month is provided by the County Law Library, with no separate county-provided funds for that purpose.

The Grand Jury visited the Law Library and found that law books, CAL JUR, Deerings California Codes, and California Reports are up-to-date. It also found that there are copies of the Federal Index, without pocket updates, Advance Sheets, and Dissolution of Marriage forms. Inmates may make copies free of charge, receive postage for mailing legal papers, and have access to a typewriter.

The Grand Jury also found that there are no self-help law books, no volumes of the Federal Digest, no copies of Witkin's Criminal Procedure, no law dictionary, no paralegal-legal assistance, and no translation assistance for the approximately 20% of the inmates who do not speak English. Inmate Welfare Services informed the Grand Jury that there is space in the Law Library for four inmates at a time. The Grand Jury was told everyone who wants is allowed to come to the Law Library. The Grand Jury also learned that any books not in the Main Jail Law Library will be provided within one day by the Santa Barbara County Law Library. The Santa Barbara Jail Policy and Procedures Manual concerning the Jail Law Library specifies, "All inmates will have reasonable access to the Law Library" and inmates who are "pro per" (those who are not represented by lawyers) will have priority over inmates for law library time.

Accompanied by a correctional officer, the Grand Jury made a survey of 8 randomly selected male-occupancy cells containing approximately 125 inmates. The Grand Jury asked if anyone had requested permission to visit the Law Library. Most inmates had not requested permission; some said they did not know it existed. Some told the Grand Jury that they did not receive a copy of the Inmate Orientation/Jail Rules when they entered the jail.

The 14 inmates interviewed who had requested a visit and who had used the library at least once, told the Grand Jury that it took from a few days to a month after the request was made to be allowed a visit. The average waiting time was 10-14 days. Five inmates had no response to their requests or were told that the library was too busy.

Another had to request twice before being allowed to visit. Another said he had to wait three months before he could visit. No inmate had filed a grievance.

Inmates who had visited the library told the Grand Jury they were able to stay as long as they needed. Most said their visit lasted for two hours. Two inmates told the Grand Jury that Inmate Welfare Services staff was cooperative and helpful.

On three separate visits to the jail, the Grand Jury found no inmate in the Law Library and no information posted near the cells about the library's availability.

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

FINDING 1: The Santa Barbara County Main Jail is consistently overcrowded.

FINDING 2: Correctional officer staffing at the Main Jail is inadequate. FINDING 3: No notices posted in view of the cells state the availability or hours of the Law Library. The most recent Law Library procedure manual is dated September, 1993. No written explanation is provided for access denial or delay in granting the requests. The Santa Barbara County Law Library assists Inmate Welfare Services in providing law books for inmates. It receives no extra funding for the assistance it provides to the jail. FINDING 4: "The Santa Barbara County Jail Rules - Inmate Orientation/Jail Rules," last revised in October 1991, and the Santa Barbara Jail Policy and Procedures Manual, last revised in September 1993, are not in synch. AFFECTED AGENCIES (California Penal Code Section 933c requires that comments to Grand Jury Findings and Recommendations be made in writing within 60 days by all affected agencies except governing bodies, which are allowed 90 days. We require all responses be submitted on computer disk along with the printed response):


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