FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS - PAGE 23
FINDING 1: The Main Jail is consistently overcrowded.
RECOMMENDATION 1: New jail construction or expansion of the existing facilities must be addressed. This must be done in spite of the failure of Proposition 205. The Board of Supervisors should develop a funding plan and a realistic, meaningful time frame for each phase of the project.
RESPONSE TO RECOMMENDATION 1: In spite of the failure of Proposition 205, the Sheriff's Department has continued to pursue funding for the North County Jail. The Sheriff's Department, County Administrator's Office, and General Services have met with the architectural team to discuss next steps in the process, such as update of the needs assessment. The County recently made a purchase offer on a vacant parcel of land east of Santa Maria for the proposed jail site. We have held meetings with the Probation Department to explore co-locating adult and juvenile facilities on the proposed site to take advantage of possible cost savings from the use of shared support services, such as food and medical services.
We continue to identify potential funding sources for construction and operational costs. We have met with the Treasurer-Tax Collector to explore local funding alternatives. We are tracking efforts at the state level to re-introduce a state bond measure. We have searched for grant funding at the state and federal levels. The Federal Crime Bill funded $60,000,000 in grants for construction of jails and juvenile facilities in California. The grants will be administered through the California Board of Corrections (BOC). We are monitoring that program and intend to apply for one of those grants when the application process has been developed by the BOC Oversight Committee.
Expansion of the existing Main Jail is not a viable solution to overcrowding. The current campus is already built out. Since nearly half of the inmate population is from North County courts, a new North County Jail would relieve the Main Jail overcrowding while reducing the amount of time that is spent transporting inmates to North County courts.
FINDING 2: The use of inmate labor at the Santa Maria Branch Jail saves money for the taxpayers.
RECOMMENDATION 2: This program should be continued.
RESPONSE TO RECOMMENDATION 2: The Sheriff's Department agrees that the use of inmate labor saves money for taxpayers. We use inmate labor extensively at all our facilities. We continue to explore innovative ways of employing, training and educating this labor pool to reduce recidivism.
FINDING 3: The offices of the Immigration and Naturalization Service at the Santa Barbara Main Jail and the Santa Maria Branch Jail are useful. They are helpful in addressing overcrowding. When deportation is known to be determinate and immediate, it can also serve as a helpful deterrent to crime.
RECOMMENDATION 3: This program should be continued.
RESPONSE TO RECOMMENDATION 3: We agree. This successful Criminal Alien program was implemented this year with the cooperation of the District Attorney, I.N.S. and the Sheriff's Department.