• The County can put an end to the release of inmates from the County jails into the community before their full sentence is served. The Main Jail overcrowding that requires these early releases can be eliminated by relatively inexpensive County policy changes.
  • A total of 2,261 inmates were released before their full sentences were served at the Main Jail in the past two years, in addition to those released through the parole process, since the jail cap went into effect.
  • Three other County jail facilities are less than 66% utilized and have the potential to house an additional 4,000 inmates per year at the current rates of stay.
  • A policy change, rather than a major construction expense, would, within months, eliminate the early release of jail inmates. By transferring inmates from the Main Jail to other, underutilized County jail facilities, early releases could be eliminated. This would result in every inmate serving his/her full sentence before release back to the community. It would also provide jail space for possible growth in the County's detention population.


  • The Santa Maria (Branch) Jail could house inmates longer than 96 hours if a registered nurse were stationed there, thus relieving even more crowding at the Main Jail.
  • Certain Lompoc City Jail cells, soon to be vacated by the County in favor of a new Superior Court Holding Facility in Lompoc, can be leased by the County for Main Jail population control.
  • The average stay at the Female Honor Farm has dropped from 12 months to less than two months due to the effects of the early release policy at the Main Jail. This gives the rehabilitation programs inadequate time to effect behavioral change in the trustees housed there. This policy, in combination with the lack of medical care, causes the facility to be underutilized at the current location at La Morada.
  • The Male Honor Farm facility needs restoration and upgrading.
  • A video arraignment system, with appropriate waivers by the inmates, should be considered between the Courts and Main Jail as a way to improve security in downtown Santa Barbara, by reducing the number of inmates transported to the Courthouse.


The Sheriff’s Department is responsible for detaining individuals who are charged with or convicted of criminal offenses, and for whom sentenced detention is the legal consequence for a criminal action. Since the voters of the County did not endorse the public expense of building a North County jail facility in November 1999, the implementation of this responsibility is compromised by the capacity constraints of the Main Jail west of the City of Santa Barbara.

While the ultimate, long-term solution to the space problem in the Main Jail may be to build a new North County jail, planning and funding for a new jail are complex, and it could take many years to achieve this solution. In the short-term, therefore, utilization of the County’s jail facilities needs improvement to do all that the Sheriff’s Department is charged with doing. Whether this undermines the long-term case for a new jail was not considered.

The short-term (three- to five-year) solution to the space problems and management of jail facilities is the focus of the 2000-2001 Grand Jury’s detention study.


Four adult detention facilities, under the jurisdiction of Santa Barbara County, are available to detain individuals booked on criminal offenses for longer than four hours. These are:

In addition to these four long-term detention facilities, the Sheriff’s Department manages, in whole or with Santa Barbara County municipal police departments, 13 short-term detention facilities (generally defined as places for holding offenders for up to four hours). These include Sheriff’s sub-stations at Isla Vista, Lompoc, Buellton, Solvang, New Cuyama, and Carpinteria and the Court Holding facilities in Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, and Lompoc. Additionally, the municipal police stations in the Cities of Santa Barbara, Lompoc, and Guadalupe were visited, as well as the Santa Barbara Sobering Center.

All 17 facilities were inspected by the Grand Jury during scheduled and unscheduled visits. These visits accomplished the Grand Jury’s mandatory charge of assuring that the detention facilities were operating in accordance with Section 919 (b) of the California Penal Code. This report fulfills that mandate.


The report is in three parts. The first part, "LONG-TERM COUNTY JAIL FACILITIES," describes the physical plants and utilization of the four longer-term Sheriff’s Department detention facilities. These are classified by the State Board of Corrections as Type 1, Type II, Type III, or Type IV facilities, which determine the maximum detention stay of the inmates there housed.

The second part, "SHORT-TERM COUNTY DETENTION FACILITIES," concerns the rest of the law enforcement facilities in the County.

The third part, "SHERIFF'"S SPECIAL OPERATIONS DIVISION," concerns four bureaus, two of which are vital to the search-and-rescue function that the Sheriff’s Department provides, with increasing frequency, for citizen safety.


The entire Grand Jury visited the Administrative Headquarters of the Sheriff’s Department and the Main Jail. Members of the Grand Jury made at least one announced visit to each of the detention facilities and various unannounced visits, at different times of the day and night, to some of these facilities. Interviews with many Sheriff’s Department staff were conducted by two or more Grand Jury members each time. Invariably, we were treated with courtesy, professionalism, and cooperation.


The Sheriff’s Department is well managed. The Sheriff, an elected Department head, has succeeded in creating and maintaining a high level of staff morale, efficiency, and continuous modernization of Department management practices and technological advances.

The staff of 476 sworn personnel (peace officers, all ranks, plus corrections officers) is highly motivated. In addition, there are 200.25 full-time equivalent positions for civilians (clerical, administrative, records clerks, and dispatchers) making this the largest Department in the County. The Grand Jury notes that there are many long-term employees. This institutional memory in our law-enforcement assures our citizens of valuable familiarity with the land and citizens of Santa Barbara County.

In addition to efficient management practices, the Sheriff’s Department has excellent relations and communications with the public. It has assembled strong civilian volunteer support in both the North and South County. This support includes fundraising, Sheriff’s Day programs, and other types of community outreach that saves County taxpayers’ money in both economic and social law-enforcement costs.

The Grand Jury commends the Sheriff’s Department’s successful service to the public.



Central to the current management and utilization of Santa Barbara County’s four adult detention facilities is a 1998 Superior Court order that dealt with severe overcrowding then affecting the Santa Barbara Main Jail (referred to herein as the "Main Jail").

Table 1. Total Number of Inmates Booked (Housed), Main Jail. (Inmates Transferred From Other County Jails Are Not Included.)

Calendar Year
























The number of Main Jail inmate bookings over a five-year period averaged 12,180 per year (Table 1). After some reconfiguring of the cells and increasing bed space, Main Jail daily population was capped at 706 (605 male, 101 female) inmates (in the attached documents, referred to as the "hard jail cap"). This Court Order assured that neither Sheriff’s Department’s personnel rights and safety nor the inmates’ rights would be violated by overpopulating the jail. Also instituted was a "flex jail cap," for males only, of 548, or 10% less than the hard cap. When the flex jail cap for males, and the hard jail cap for females, referred to herein as the "jail cap," at the Main Jail are reached, prisoner-release preparations are made.

Table 2. Average Daily Population, County Main Jail































Note: In 1999 and 2000, the Jail Cap was in effect.

The early release policy reduced the detention population overcrowding at the Main Jail (Table 2). In 1999, 928 males and 53 females were released early due to the jail cap, an average of 24.40 days earlier than sentenced. In 2000, 1,137 males and 143 females were released, an average of 24.09 days earlier than sentenced. This is a two-year total of 2,261 sentenced inmates released before serving their full sentences due solely to overcrowding. These are in addition to the 481 inmates released through the Sheriff’s Parole process in those years.

Over the last several years, other remedies for detention space have been implemented to relieve Main Jail population control issues. The Courts and Probation Departments have developed Justice programs to divert sentenced and unsentenced offenders into programs outside the jail. These jail-diversion remediation programs are funded by the state and include:

State money, to be released later this year for the Proposition 36 goals endorsed by California voters in March 2000, will be another means of diverting newly sentenced drug and alcohol offenders from jail detention and into non-jail treatment programs.

Despite these diversion programs, the population count in Main Jail continues to trigger the jail cap and the Department remains legally obligated to release individuals ahead of their original court-ordered sentence completion dates to make room for new inmates.

At the same time, the other long-term Santa Barbara County adult detention facilities (the Santa Maria Jail, the Male Honor Farm, and the La Morada Female Honor Farm), taken as a whole, are not utilized to capacity (Table 3).

Table 3. Adult jail Utilization (Excluding the Main Jail)

Facility (capacity)






Santa Maria Jail (35)

14 (4%)

14 (40%)

12 (35%)

14 (40%)

15 (43%)

Male Honor Farm (270)

196 (73%)

195 (72%)

186 (69%)

178 (66%)

182 (67%)

Female Honor Farm (32)

22 (63%)

25 (78%)

27 (77%)

22 (63%)

17 (49%)

Total ADP (337)






Total Utilization %






Note: In 1999 and 2000 the Jail Cap was in effect.

Finding 1a: Aggressive utilization of all four Santa Barbara County adult detention facilities has become necessary because voters failed to approve the November 1999 bond measure to construct a North County Jail.

Finding 1b: The County jail facilities, excluding the Main Jail, are not utilized to capacity, with an Average Daily Population (ADP) for the past five years of 66%. The utilization of all County jail facilities has decreased from an average of 68% to 64% during the time that the Main Jail population cap has been in effect.


Table 4. Year 2000 Maximum Daily Population vs. ADP, With Year 2000 Average Length of Jail Stay (ALS)


Maximum Inmate Capacity minus ADP

Average Length of Stay (ALS)

Additional Capacity if 100% Utilized

Santa Maria

35 - 15 = 20

3 days

365/ 3 X 20 = 2433

Male Honor Farm

220 - 182 = 88

22 days

365/22 X 88 = 1460

Female Honor Farm

36 - 17 = 19

61 days

365/61 X 19 = 113

Total (N) = 4,006

N = total number of inmates who could be housed in existing facilities at year 2000 ADP and ALS rates.

As shown in Table 4, an additional 4,006 inmates could be housed in other County jail facilities each year, at current Average Lengths of Stay (ALS), if all County jail facilities were used at full capacity, 365 days per year. Based on the current utilization of beds at the Main Jail, 90% (or over 3600) of these additional detention beds could realistically be used in any year, or almost three times the annual number of inmates early-released in 1999 and in 2000. The Santa Maria Jail alone could be used to house an additional 2,400 inmates per year at full capacity at its current ALS.

Recommendation 1a: County-wide full utilization of jail capacity should become a Santa Barbara Detention policy.

Recommendation 1b: Every effort should be made to prevent the necessity for early release of inmates due to overcrowding.

Recommendation 1c: The Sheriff’s Department should analyze the utilization of the other County jail facilities. The Santa Maria Jail, in particular, should be considered as an alternative to the early releasing of inmates at the Main Jail as a result of the Main Jail population cap.

Recommendation 1d: If an inmate’s bed is needed at the Main Jail, jail-transfer to one of the other County jail facilities should be considered for inmates, in order that they complete their original court sentences.

Recommendation 1e: Only Main Jail housed inmates should be subject to early release when that facility’s population exceeds the jail cap. A remedy should be found that excludes inmates housed in other County detention facilities from being released when the jail cap necessitates inmate release from the Main Jail.

Santa Barbara County Main Jail

The Main Jail is a Type II facility, where inmates can be sentenced for up to a one-year term, with multiple terms allowable. Because of the jail cap at the Main Jail, a sentenced inmate may be released before completion of his/her court-ordered sentence if a bed is needed for a newly committed detainee. These inmates can be released from one to 393 days earlier than sentenced.

When the jail cap is in effect, inmates are early released on the basis of the time remaining to be served in their sentence. This early release criterion is materially different than the criterion of length of time of original sentence. In other words, those inmates with the shortest time left to serve, no matter where they are housed, are released until the inmate in the needed bed in the Main Jail is released. This release criterion regards neither the length of the inmate’s original court-ordered sentence, nor in which facility the inmate is housed, even if the need is only for a Main Jail bed.

One way to accommodate the need for a bed at the Main Jail without releasing inmates from other facilities would be to effect a "facilities cap," instead of a "jail cap." A facilities cap is a cap based on the specific facility (or "classification") of the bed in which the booked inmate is assigned to serve his or her sentence. Under a facilities cap, if a Main Jail bed is needed, only Main Jail inmates are subject to early-release; if a Male Honor Farm bed is needed, only a Male Honor Farm trustee is subject to release, etc.

Finding 2a: The current remedy for the Main Jail overcrowding is a jail cap, taking into account an inmate’s time of sentence remaining when determining who is to be released first from all of the County’s detention facilities.

Finding 2b: A facilities cap, in combination with the recommendations of:

Recommendation 2: A facilities cap, which considers beds in each jail and jail section separately, should be analyzed as an alternative to the jail cap policy, which considers all inmates in all County jail facilities to determine the pool of inmates for early-release when effecting control over the Main Jail population. The analysis and its conclusion should be considered for presentation to the Board of Supervisors and for community input.

Once the jail cap at the Main Jail is reached, the timing of the release of inmates from the jail facilities depends on the time of day Main Jail beds are needed. Based on a refined procedure instituted in March 2000, the attempt is to organize Main Jail releases in the morning, in order to release the (male) inmates only during daylight hours, when bus service to and from the Main Jail exists. Female inmates may be released only when personal transportation has been arranged. If a Main Jail bed is needed and an inmate’s early release has not been anticipated or arranged for during daylight hours, there is little flexibility to delay a release until daybreak.

While early release inmates are supposed to be released into either a Sheriff-run or a Probation-run program (including Work Furlough, Sheriff’s Work Assistance Program, Electronic Monitoring or Parole), inmates are responsible for getting themselves from the Jail to that program’s location. These program locations may not be open outside of conventional business hours.

The responsibility of the Sheriff’s Department for a released inmate, because of legal liability, ends at the jail exit. The Department does not arrange for after-hours transportation, other than providing a bus token, for released male inmates. (Early released female inmates, as noted above, are released only when personal transportation has been arranged.)

Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District (MTD) does not operate buses near the Main Jail from 6:10 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. daily, making it difficult for the night-released inmates to transport themselves to an appropriate location. Early released inmates are often released without the necessary arrangement of community resources and family coordination to stabilize their reentry into the community.

Unlike the early release process, a Sheriff’s Parole is conducted by a Parole Board comprised of a member of the Sheriff’s Department, Probation Department, and the community, with input from the entire Sheriff custody staff and the Probation staff familiar with the inmate’s history. In this board hearing, the inmate:

The parolee then reports to a Probation Officer for the balance of his/her original sentence. There is more expected of the inmate in the parole process than in the early release procedures.

Finding 3: Of the 2,261 male and female inmates early released in 1999 and 2000 due to the jail cap, only 1,242 (or 55%) were released into either a Sheriff-run program or a Probation-run program. While the Probation Department arranges for community coordination of medical, mental health, social services, housing, and oversight benefits for the inmates who are released into Probation-run programs (including Sheriff’s Parole), not all inmates are released into Probation-run programs.

Recommendation 3: The Sheriff’s Department should model early release decisions, when they are necessary, on the Sheriff’s Parole process. This will take significantly more personnel resources than the current early release procedures but may ultimately result in less social and economic costs to the County.

Finding 4: Inmates when released from the Main Jail, even during the hours when MTD bus service is available, are often without resources to return to their original, and perhaps distant, communities. Many inmates are from other County locations and are often unfamiliar with the City of Santa Barbara, making family reunification efforts difficult to achieve quickly.

Recommendation 4: Every effort should be made to preclude the early release of inmates without arranging short-term community resources, which benefits the inmate and the community.

Santa Maria Branch Jail

The Santa Maria Jail is a neat and clean facility that currently functions somewhat as a North County staging area for detainees brought in by Santa Maria municipal police, police from other cities, the Probation Department, California Highway Patrol, and Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) before transfer to the Main Jail.

This jail is certified by the State Board of Corrections as a Type I classified facility. Detained, booked inmates may be housed, in seven of the nine cells, for up to 96 hours (four days) before they are either transferred or released. Because part of the Santa Maria Jail facility serves as long-term housing to some of the Work Furlough inmates in the County, it also has Type IV classification status.

The Santa Maria Jail has the facilities to house 35 people in the general jail and up to 21 in the (Work Furlough/working inmates) longer-term cells (up to one year).

Inmates are monitored and processed by a staff of 17 corrections officers, five of whom are women, who staff the facility 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with a minimum staffing of two officers per shift. These officers include one Lieutenant, two Sergeants, two Senior Corrections Officers, and 12 line officers. The facility also has two daytime civilian clerks and two Work Furlough Probation staff.

Table 5 shows actual bookings over a five-year period. This averages to 5,787 bookings a year. Annual bookings at the Santa Maria Jail represent approximately 37% of all long-term Santa Barbara County Jail bookings.

Table 6 shows that the Average Daily Population of the Santa Maria Jail is 14 inmates. This is approximately 40% of maximum capacity.

Table 7 shows that the average number of inmates transferred annually from Santa Maria to the Main Jail is 2,855. This is about half the inmates annually booked into Santa Maria Jail (from Table 5).

Table 5. Average Annual Bookings, Santa Maria Jail

Calendar Year

























Table 6. Average Daily Population, Santa Maria Jail

Calendar Year
























Table 7. Number of Inmates Transferred to the Main Jail From Santa Maria Jail

Calendar Year
























Table 8. Number of Santa Maria Jail Transferred Inmates as a Percentage of Total Main Jail Housed Inmates


Total Main Jail Booked


Number of Santa Maria Transfers


Total Inmates in Main Jail

A+B = C

Santa Maria Transfers as % of Main Jail Total



























The Santa Maria Jail transfers most of its inmates to the Main Jail, and accounts for approximately 20% of the housing in the Main Jail (Table 8). In addition to the transferred inmates noted in Table 8, all Santa Maria detainees subject to extradition to another jurisdiction are also transferred to the Main Jail. Individuals subject to extradition include immigration-held detainees (awaiting Border Patrol transport) and parolees (held for within state transport), as well as inmates being held for other government agencies (for example, out-of-County warrants).

Extraditions have a firm and specified timeframe (usually up to 10 days) for completion and the extraditers need a single address to schedule inmate pick-up. All State, INS, and warrant arrests now immediately transported from the Santa Maria Jail to the Main Jail could be held for pick-up directly from the Santa Maria Jail if it were able to hold inmates longer (i.e., if the Santa Maria Jail were to be certified as a Type II facility). This additional challenge (of extradition housing) to the population control at the Main Jail would thus be removed.

Finding 5: All inmates held for extradition to another jurisdiction are immediately transported from the Santa Maria Jail to the Main Jail because it cannot be assured that extradition can be completed in the 96 hours that an inmate can legally be held in the Type I Santa Maria Jail.

Again, each admission to the Main Jail forces the premature release of a Main Jail inmate if the jail cap is in effect.

Recommendation 5: The Sheriff’s Department should accommodate agency pick-ups and arrange for extraditions directly from the Santa Maria Jail.

In addition to the regularly scheduled transports from the Santa Maria Jail to the Main Jail, there are Special Medical Transports for inmates who require medical attention when regularly scheduled transportation is unavailable. These are accomplished with a single Deputy Officer in a dedicated van, at an approximate cost of $700 per trip, which includes Deputies overtime, transportation, and time needed for rebooking the inmate.

Based on a study undertaken by the Grand Jury for a representative four-week period in November 2000, a log was kept at the Santa Maria Jail. The time and reason for Special Medical Transports were recorded, and analyzed based on the severity of the medical complaint. This log revealed that there were 33 Special Medical Transports (more than one per day), with 74 inmates transported to the Main Jail during this 28-day period. This annualizes to 396 Special Medical Transports and 888 inmates per year. Other than this record, there were no other logs of these Special Medical Transports available.

Because of a lack of medical staff at the Santa Maria Jail, all inmates needing even self-supplied, chronic medication (e.g., anti-seizure and high-blood pressure medications), as well as those requiring non-critical medical attention (e.g., inmates with pacemakers), must be transported to the Main Jail. Based on the November 2000 study undertaken by the Grand Jury, 54 of 74 (or 73%) Santa Maria detainees could have completed their full sentences in the Santa Maria Jail if oversight nursing had been then available at the facility. This would require a maximum staffing of a registered nurse 24 hours per day at an estimated cost of $720/day, although nurse staffing for the period from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. (roughly the time when no bus service is available at the Main Jail) would cost approximately $360/day. This would relieve some of the night-time Special Medical Transports (and releases if the jail cap is in effect) at the Main Jail.

Finding 6a A Special Medical Transport to the Main Jail is required if the inmate has medical issues, regardless of the length of detention the offense requires (e.g., DUI with pacemaker, public intoxicant with asthma).

Finding 6b: Regardless of the brevity of an inmate’s sentence or pre-sentence booking, a transported inmate from Santa Maria into the Main Jail for medical reasons triggers the release of an inmate from the Main Jail if the jail cap is in effect.

Finding 6c: Special Medical Transported inmates put an additional strain on the population control and management at the Main Jail because their arrival cannot be anticipated nor their beds arranged for during daylight hours. This transport of a medically needy detainee to the Main Jail during a jail cap often triggers the concurrent release of inmates with earlier release dates from the Male and Female Honor Farms.

Recommendation 6: Hire medically trained professionals at the Santa Maria Jail to allow medically needy inmates to stay up to 96 hours in the Santa Maria Jail.

Finding 7a: Special Medical Transports between the Santa Maria Jail and the Main Jail, for inmates that have any non-critical medical need, take up to four hours for the round-trip, and might occur more than once a day. These Special Medical Transports are in addition to the regular daily transports from the Santa Maria Jail to the Main Jail.

Finding 7b: These Special Medical Transports are usually accomplished with Sheriff’s Department personnel on overtime pay.

Finding 7c: The average cost of these Special Medical Transports is approximately $700 per trip (or roughly the cost for a registered nurse for 24 hours). This calculation includes Sheriff’s deputy time in transport, double booking, gas, etc., but does not include in-transport liability protection, or estimated liability for delay of medical care.

Finding 7d: The estimated average annual cost for Special Medical Transport in 2000 was $277,200 (396 X $700), based on the 28-day log that was kept.

Recommendation 7: Special Medical Transports should be minimized to save County expense.

All Santa Maria Jail inmate health issues are triaged by phone calls from Santa Maria Sheriff’s Deputies to the contract (non-County) medical personnel centralized at the Main Jail. Contract medical staff directs the Santa Maria Jail personnel in the following ways:

Medical issues that are so urgent that a Special Medical Transport to the 70-mile-distant Main Jail is not deemed advisable, result in 9-1-1 calls from Santa Maria Sheriff’s personnel to the County Dispatch Center. Emergency dispatch calls from the Santa Maria Jail result in both Santa Maria Fire Department and American Medical Response (AMR) responses. The inmate is always transported to Marian Hospital by AMR, at an average cost of $450 per transport.

Finding 8a: Even if the subsequent emergency medical treatment of the inmate moved after the 9-1-1 calls is deemed to be unnecessary by the medical staff at Marian Hospital, emergency medical costs are borne by the Sheriff’s Department, and, ultimately, the taxpayers of Santa Barbara County.

Finding 8b: Medically untrained personnel cannot discern many inmate health issues (for example, HIV, TB, lice, etc.). These undetected medical conditions are a potential hazard to the health of Sheriff’s personnel and other inmates. In addition to the Jail Deputies, all persons involved in all the Sheriff’s Transports (regular and Special) from the Santa Maria Jail to the Main Jail are exposed to the detected and undetected health issues of inmates during the hours in transport.

Finding 8c: There is potential financial liability to the County for inmate health issues that are unrecognized and, hence, untreated.

Recommendation 8: Nursing staff should be hired and stationed in the Santa Maria Jail, on a schedule compliant with California Medical Association standards for Type II Jail Facilities. The nursing staff could administer pharmaceuticals and identify and treat non-critical medical needs, for the health of all professionals and detainees at the Santa Maria Jail.

Finding 9: The Santa Maria Jail facility has sufficient space for a nurse’s station.

Recommendation 9: The cost of providing nursing capability at the Santa Maria Jail should be analyzed against the costs of the Special Medical Transports, AMR responses, and Marian Hospital emergency visits. The potential health risks to inmates and staff and the possibility of financial liability should also be factored into this analysis.

Finding 10: Full utilization of the Santa Maria Jail facility would relieve the Main Jail of some of its population restriction problems, and so most, if not all, County inmates could serve their full sentence.

Recommendation 10: If deemed cost effective by the outcome of the analyses proposed in Recommendation 9, the current Santa Maria Jail Type I facility should be used to capacity.

Finding 11: To hold sentenced and unsentenced jail inmates longer than 96 hours (as Type II facilities do), the Santa Maria Jail would need to take the following actions:

Recommendation 11: Reclassification of the Santa Maria Jail as a Type II facility should be analyzed by the Sheriff’s Department in order to be able to house appropriate inmates longer than 96 hours at the facility. This analysis should be based on the social and financial costs of premature release of inmates from the County jails versus the costs to fence the yard and hire a nurse at the Santa Maria Jail. Cost savings (regular and Special Medical Transports, extradition transfers, and health liability issues, as listed in Recommendation 9) should also be considered.

Male Honor Farm

The Male Honor Farm is a Type III facility, where inmates may be held for up to one year with minimum security. It is located on the same campus as the Main Jail, although it is housed in a separate building. It uses some of the Main Jail support facilities (kitchen/medical/laundry). The Male Honor Farm houses "trustees" who are classified differently than the Main Jail general population. However, the trustees housed at the Male Honor Farm are subject to premature release from their sentence when an early release from the Main Jail is necessary under the jail cap.

Table 9. Trustees Classified Into the Male Honor Farm, 1996-2000


Number of Trustees


Percent of Capacity





















As Table 9 shows, the number of trustees classified at the Male Honor Farm averaged 1,400 per year over the last five years.

The impact of the jail cap at the Main Jail, and the premature release of trustees, has reduced the utilization at the Male Honor Farm. The Male Honor Farm has a capacity of 270 trustees. The average number of trustees placed at the Farm from 1998 through 2000 increased 2%, but Male Honor Farm Average Daily Population dropped 2% during that same period due to the effect of the jail cap. The Average Daily Population for the three years preceding the jail cap was 72%; the Average Daily Population for the two years since the jail cap was instituted was 67% (Table 9).

Finding 12a: The Male Honor Farm is not used to capacity because of the unintended consequences of the current jail cap order, since the release of a Main Jail inmate due to the application of the jail cap triggers the release of all Honor Farm trustees with earlier release dates.

Finding 12b: Multiple releases from the Male Honor Farm can result from the

early release policy, even though the jail cap is triggered by a need for only a single bed at the Main Jail.

Recommendation 12: The Male Honor Farm should be used fully to serve County citizens at the least social and economic cost.

Male Honor Farm trustees staff a work crew that has ongoing and necessary responsibilities in the proper functioning of the Main Jail. Disruption of the Main Jail processes results when the work crew is unstable. In addition to work responsibilities at the Main Jail, the Male Honor Farm trustees undergo court-mandated rehabilitation. This rehabilitation includes the acclaimed Sheriff’s Treatment Program (STP), a substance abuse counseling program, and other behavior modification programs, as well as job-training programs for building maintenance, baking, landscaping, print shop, and computers. All of these programs take a specific amount of time, which often is the basis of the Court’s determination of sentence. These programs, especially the behavior modification therapies, are most effectively accomplished in the controlled setting of the Honor Farm.

Finding 13a: A trustee’s rehabilitation and training might not be completed if he is early released. Incomplete training can negate the purpose of the sentence and compromise the rehabilitation of the offender. This wastes the County’s money.

Finding 13b: A Male Honor Farm trustee’s early release and incomplete training renders that trustee’s reentry into the community less successful. A less successful reentry into the community may cause the trustee to recidivate and again become a financial and social expense of the County.

Recommendation 13: Determine how the current jail cap order can be reinterpreted (e.g., facility cap, higher utilization of branch jails, etc.) to preclude Male Honor Farm trustees from being affected by Main Jail early releases.

The 2000-2001 Grand Jury commends the Sheriff’s Department for its prompt addressing of many of the facilities issues identified by the 1999-2000 Grand Jury at the Male Honor Farm. There are a few remaining facility issues should be included in the next Sheriff’s Department budget.

Finding 14a: Restating the finding of the 1999-2000 Grand Jury, the roof of the latrine at the Male Honor Farm is termite-infested and has dry rot.

Finding 14b: There is frequent and heavy condensation on the interior of windows of the Male Honor Farm.

Finding 14c: The tunnel between the Male Honor Farm and the Main Jail is inadequately ventilated.

Finding 14d: The passive solar panels used to heat water at the Male Honor Farm are in need of restoration or replacement.

Recommendation 14: Correct by repair, retrofitting, or replacement all of the facility problems listed in Findings 14a, 14b, 14c, and 14d.

Female Honor Farm (at La Morada)

The Female Honor Farm is a Type III facility. It was built in 1968 as a hall for female juveniles. It has been used over the years as a facility for behavior modification therapies for clients served by the Probation Department and Alcohol, Drug & Mental Health Services (ADMHS). The facility was turned over to the Sheriff’s Department in 1982 for rehabilitation programming for Female Honor Farm trustees. The location is well designed for rehabilitative purposes.

Most of the women trustees of the Female Honor Farm have problems resulting from substance abuse. Quality, gender-specific, rehabilitation is in place at the Female Honor Farm. This includes substance abuse counseling, courses in home economics, anger management, parenting, horticulture, food production, and art expression, among others. Also, Graduate Equivalent Diploma (GED) and English as a Second Language (ESL) tutoring and testing are provided.

The Grand Jury commends management of the Female Honor Farm. The female Sheriff’s staff is well suited to identify and develop appropriate community-coordinated therapeutic program opportunities for the women trustees. This orientation is valuable to the County since such programs build competence and self-esteem, which are arguably the antidotes to overcoming the conditioning that leads to sexual victimization and criminal offences by both females and males.

At present, women qualify differently than men when it comes to Honor Farm placement, for medical reasons. Unlike the Male Honor Farm that is easily accessible to the medical staff at the Main Jail, the Female Honor Farm has no on-site medical services and is restricted to those trustees who have no medical problems.

Finding 15a: As is the case with the Male Honor Farm, the Main Jail population cap causes women at the Female Honor Farm to be released earlier than their sentenced (planned) release date. This inadvertently occurs if

  1. a female inmate bed is needed at the Main Jail,
  2. an Honor Farm trustee has an earlier release date than the inmate in the needed Main Jail bed, and
  3. the jail cap is in effect.

Finding 15b: As with the Male Honor Farm, Female Honor Farm remediation programs for behavior modification need specific and firm time periods to be most effective in changing harmful behavior patterns. The effectiveness of these remediation programs is compromised by unplanned early release dates for the trustees.

Recommendation 15: Determine whether the current jail cap order can be reinterpreted to preclude Female Honor Farm trustees from being penalized by Main Jail early releases that disrupt the time-specific behavior modification programs.

Table 10. Women Booked for Substance Abuse in Santa Barbara County (Excludes City of Lompoc Arrests), 1996-2000






Santa Barbara City






Santa Maria City






Sheriff Arrests












The number of women incarcerated and/or treated in the law-enforcement system for drug offenses, alcohol offenses, or both, in Santa Barbara County has been rising. (See Table 10.) More and expanded substance-abuse programs for women will be necessary based on recent County and national statistical documentation.

Finding 16a: Substance abuse often results in physiological medical conditions, in addition to psychological conditions, and so requires the professional services of a medical doctor as well as a psychologist.

Finding 16b: The La Morada facility is located some distance from the centralized medical facilities at the Main Jail and there are no medical services available at the La Morada Female Honor Farm. Because of the lack of medical care at La Morada, no woman with any medical conditions (e.g., asthma, diabetes, allergies, sensitivity to bee stings, etc.) is eligible for placement at the La Morada Female Honor Farm facility even though she might otherwise qualify for, and benefit from, such classification and therapeutic programming.

Finding 16c: As a result of La Morada’s distance from the medical facilities at the Main Jail, a smaller percentage of County women detainees have the option of Honor Farm placement and therapeutic programming than do their male counterparts.

Finding 16d: Federal legislation mandates equality in the administration of male and female honor farm detention facilities in the same county.

Recommendation 16: The stringent medical qualifications for females should be removed for Female Honor Farm classification. This would result in more placements into the Female Honor Farm, allow more therapeutic rehabilitation of County female substance abusers and, at the same time, release beds in the Main Jail for other women detainees. This may mean identifying a different facility. (See Recommendation 19b.)

Table 11. Average Daily Population of Trustees, La Morada Female Honor Farm, 1996 –2000

Fiscal Year

Average Daily Population

Average Length of Stay



12 months



12 months



12 months



37 days

Despite the County’s female substance-abuse statistics, the 1996-2000 Average Daily Population at the La Morada Female Honor Farm averages 22 trustees, or 35% below the 36-person capacity of the facility (Table 11). Because of the effect of the early release policies created by the Main Jail population cap, the average stay at the La Morada Female Honor Farm facility has dropped from 12 months to less than two months in the past two years (Table 11).

Finding 17: This early release policy is negating the intended beneficial objectives of the Female Honor Farm programming by reducing the average stay at La Morada from 12 months to less than two months.

Recommendation 17: The Sheriff’s Department should restore the integrity of time necessary for behavior modification therapy to be effective for women trustees at the Female Honor Farm.

Table 12. Comparison of Average Daily Costs per Trustee at Santa Barbara County Honor Farms, 1996-2000

Fiscal Year

Average Daily Cost: Male Honor Farm

Average Daily Cost: Female Honor Farm













Because the La Morada Female Honor Farm facility has high fixed costs and is averaging only 18 inmates per day (see Table 11), the per-trustee cost is significantly higher than the per-inmate cost at the Male Honor Farm, as shown in Table 12. Although the La Morada facility is well designed for rehabilitation and behavior modification therapy, it is not being used to capacity as a Female Honor Farm.

Finding 18: More County women qualify for the honor farm classification than can be housed at the current Female Honor Farm site, the La Morada facility.

Recommendation 18: All qualified inmates should have the opportunity to be classified as Female Honor Farm trustees. This would serve the community appropriately, reduce per-trustee cost, and save taxpayers’ money.

Finding 19: The La Morada facility is underutilized because of the stringent medical qualification for women trustees, and rehabilitation and therapy are compromised by the Main Jail early release (Jail Cap) program.

Recommendation 19a: As the La Morada facility is restricted to only healthy Female Honor Farm trustees, a new facility should be identified and the Female Honor Farm should be relocated away from La Morada to serve the maximum number of County women qualifying for honor farm detention.

Recommendation 19b: Adapt presently underutilized facilities at the Male Honor Farm (adjacent to the Main Jail and its medical facilities) for the use of women who qualify for, but are denied Female Honor Farm status. This would enable more qualified women to be classified as Female Honor Farm trustees.

A new source of funds for substance abuse treatment in the amount of $900,000 will come to Santa Barbara County in July 2001 and $1.8 million will be available in each of the five years thereafter to follow through implementation of the Drug Diversion Alternative Sentencing Law created by Proposition 36 (noted on page five of this report).

Of the 1,641 County women on Probation (as of February 1, 2001), a maximum of 255 (or 22%), as estimated by the Probation Department, would qualify for this Alternative Sentencing program. If all of the first-year’s money were dedicated to this maximum number, there would be $3,500/individual or, for a six-month program, about $20/individual/day.

Proposition 36 diversion programs are for a period certain, without early release, and promise more effective and longer-term rehabilitation of women substance abusers in Santa Barbara County than the often-interrupted sentences at the current Female Honor Farm. By including County Public Health and ADMHS in the therapeutic programming for women substance abusers, medically needy women diverted by the Proposition 36 initiatives could obtain necessary medical oversight.

Finding 20: There is more need for substance-abuse programming for County women than can be delivered at the current Female Honor Farm facility.

Recommendation 20a: Designate part of the first three-year’s funding from Proposition 36 to additional women’s substance abuse treatment programs, modeled on existing Sheriff’s Department programs.

Recommendation 20b: Once the Female Honor Farm is moved to the Main Jail campus, the La Morada facility should be rededicated to serve the therapeutic needs of women diverted from jail using the funding of Proposition 36. As with any County program, the effectiveness of the programming should be assessed based on County performance measurements, using appropriate behavior modification criteria.


Finding 21: Proposition 36 programs and the associated facility, by statute, must be administered by a qualified agency other than the Sheriff’s Department.

Recommendation 21: The Probation Department should administer Proposition 36 funds in the County.


Carpinteria Sheriff’s Sub-Station

The Coastal Operations Bureau of the Sheriff’s Department, a branch of the South County Operations Division, serves Carpinteria, Montecito, and Summerland. Based in the City of Carpinteria (pop. 14,585, 2000 census), which it services under contract, four 5-person squads provide 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week police services to those communities and other unincorporated areas south and east to Ventura County.

Headquarters for the team is located on Carpinteria Avenue, adjacent to the Carpinteria City Hall. The building contains three temporary (up to four-hour) holding cells (one with toilet; none with mattresses), an interview room, booking area, and administrative and staff offices. The latter are shared with a small contingent of County and Carpinteria municipal detectives.

New management at the station intends to make the Department more user-friendly to the City by providing more staff dedicated to monitoring the downtown corridor, expanding alcohol-prevention programs, and offering greater outreach to the Hispanic community. Most bookings are for domestic violence, burglaries, and illegal cigarette and liquor consumption by minors. During the summer, the popular Carpinteria State Beach draws thousands of visitors. The beach itself is policed by the State; however, all other areas of this tourist town, during the summer and for special activities, are the policing responsibility of the Sheriff’s deputies under contract to the City of Carpinteria.

The sub-station was built as a commercial office building with modular construction; some areas are too large and others are too small and are not tailored specifically for police operations. The booking room, in particular, is small and congested and could be hazardous when booking a violent offender. The interview room, by contrast, is much larger than needed. Some offices are tiny; other work areas are larger than necessary, and storage is inadequate.

Finding 22: Office efficiency of the sub-station is compromised by the inefficient design of the facility.

Recommendation 22: Management should act on its many ideas to improve office efficiency, which can be implemented at reasonable cost by better partitioning of space.

New Cuyama Sheriff’s Sub-Station

The tiny farm community (permanent population 1,100) of isolated New Cuyama is home to one restaurant, one bar, four stop signs (no signals), and a County Sheriff’s facility staffed by two full-time resident deputies. While the unincorporated community is small, these two Sheriff’s deputies patrol some 650 square miles of valley and mountain backcountry. Aside from the California Highway Patrol, it is effectively the only law enforcement presence near the junctions of Santa Barbara, Kern, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo counties. A converted three-bedroom house serves as headquarters. It has the only barred jail in the area, a temporary (four-hour) facility used until detainees can be taken to Santa Maria, 56 miles away.

This is Santa Barbara County's most isolated law enforcement operation. Deputies patrol about 200 miles a day in their black-and-white "Rural Law Enforcement" truck. The crimes most frequently encountered are trespass on farmland, domestic violence, and production and possession of illegal drugs. In law-enforcement operations that require more than two deputies, back-up emergency personnel arrive by a 20-minute helicopter ride from the airport at Santa Ynez.

Finding 23a: Both emergency and non-emergency Sheriff’s Department back-up personnel are dispatched by helicopter from Santa Ynez, and land at the New Cuyama airstrip.

Finding 23b: At the New Cuyama airstrip, there are no facilities to refuel or even a safe place to store a cache of emergency aircraft fuel. Pilots low on fuel after a long mountain patrol have to go to Santa Maria or Santa Ynez, a distant and possibly dangerous diversion that limits patrol time and increases operational costs. A small concrete helipad can easily be built on ample County property immediately adjacent to the New Cuyama Sheriff’s Department facility.

Recommendation 23a: A simple 20 x 20 ft. (or smaller) concrete pad, requiring approximately $1000 for materials (a frame is already in place), should be built.

Recommendation 23b: Fuel should be stored at the Sheriff’s Department facility, in an existing small above-ground tank located near the proposed pad, and hosed to the helicopter as needed. It can be replenished occasionally from jerrycans brought from the Santa Ynez home base.

Santa Barbara Sobering Center

Though not strictly a detention facility because there are no locked cells, this unique downtown center functions somewhat as a halfway house or drunk tank, without the costly necessity of taking simple inebriates to the County jail. Located in a convenient storefront adjacent to the New Faulding Hotel, it is ideally located to detain temporarily intoxicated revelers, generated in large numbers at the nearby bar scene. Started six years ago, it operates 24 hours a day, seven days per week as an efficient and effective way of intercepting common drunks before they can become a threat to themselves and the community.

That nearby bar scene is of considerable concern. Just three blocks of lower State Street in Santa Barbara contain approximately 27 bars, dance clubs, restaurants, and liquor stores that sell alcoholic beverages (often at bargain promotion prices) to large numbers of tourists and University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) and Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) students on weekends. Business is especially brisk during major special events like Fiesta and Summer Solstice parades.

Those activities can produce many inebriates who need to be removed from the streets and their cars before getting into trouble. In other parts of the County, and other parts of the city, offenders would be taken to the Main Jail for booking and sleeping it off. This is expensive, requiring an officer to spend an hour or so taking the offender to the jail, booking him or her, and returning to the street scene, where the officer is really needed.

As a cost-effective alternative, the offender may be taken to the nearby Sobering Center, which is really an office with a sparse back room and bathroom, suitable for sleeping it off on the floor on vinyl mattresses. Only six can be accommodated (women sleep separately in the attended office), usually for about four hours, with monitoring every 15 minutes. They are charged $5 for this privilege, which is a bargain, and spares them the embarrassment of going to jail. Although cited for being drunk in public, they are not, technically, detained. If they wander off, however, the police are informed and they are again apprehended, taken to the Main Jail, and booked.

This small program works very well, at a contract cost of $145,000 a year, at the direction of the Santa Barbara Police Department. It is said to save $50,000 to $80,000 a year in booking costs ($120 per detainee) and police time and relieves main jail overcrowding. About 1,400 clients are accommodated each year; some 35% of them repeat offenders. But, after five trips, regulars must go directly to jail. Drug offenders are not welcome.

Finding 24: The Sobering Center is an excellent, innovative program to get drunks off the street without the expense and trouble of taking them to jail. The paid civilian staff is comprised of former offenders who know how to relate to their clients. Of note: A special patrol program instituted by the new Santa Barbara Police Chief has put in place a law-enforcement detail which focuses on this area only. These officers, as their sole responsibility, will become well acquainted with bar owners, bartenders, patrons, and habitual offenders, and the bar personnel will become acquainted with the officers to reduce alcohol-related problems in the community.

Recommendation 24: The Board of Supervisors should consider a similar contract facility for Isla Vista.

Isla Vista Foot Patrol

Isla Vista, a small community adjacent to UCSB, has the distinction of being the most densely populated community in the County, with 23,000 to 25,000 people living in just four-fifths of a square mile. Additionally, Isla Vista has more reported incidents of crime per capita than any other Sheriff’s patrol district in the County.

The predominately college-age population (over 50%) presents quite a police problem, keeping the peace between the short-term tenancy of lively young adults and a constant population of culturally mixed adults and seniors. In 2000, the tiny community accounted for 25% of all calls and case numbers for the Sheriff’s Department. Fifty percent of all crimes were alcohol-related, and 22% were drug-related.

The attempted solution has been the establishment of the Isla Vista Foot Patrol by the Sheriff’s Department, consisting of 24 full-time staff (30 on weekends) based in a 2,600 square foot downtown building, who patrol primarily by bicycle and foot. There are many bars in Isla Vista, considering its size (23 alcohol permits, 13 over ABC allowance). In addition, there are many special events and private (300+ celebrant) parties, which are often drunken revelries, and must be handled by the Isla Vista staff. Added to this is drug use, conflicts between rival UCSB and SBCC students due to semester overlaps, vandalism, the peculiar local tradition of burning couches in the street, fights, petty theft, etc., providing police problems disproportionate to the size of the community. And like downtown Santa Barbara, there is an unusual concentration of places that sell liquor (seven liquor stores, three markets, two bars, and 11 restaurants that serve beer).

A well-organized facility in a small space, this Sheriff’s Department facility has the smallest square footage per officer in the County. It also houses a stable of 16 bicycles. Management has learned much about the practices of the families and college population in the community and uses this information to prepare Sheriff’s Department resources for preventative measures, as well as urgent response.

Sheriff’s Department management has been effective in containing problems through a zero-tolerance policy and an enlightened sense that drunks are really potential victims who need protection themselves, as well as a threat to others. However, this atmosphere comes at a high cost—overtime policing of special events costs $145,000/year.

Finding 25: The Isla Vista Foot Patrol is a very well managed part of the Sheriff’s Department operating effectively in a difficult and special environment.

Recommendation 25a: The Sheriff’s Department should increase its efforts to obtain more cooperation with UCSB campus police and administration. UCSB provides most of the campus policing needs, but tends to treat problems off-campus as outside of its responsibility, especially when a UCSB student is involved in an illegal activity and is not a victim.

Recommendation 25b: A sobering center, similar to the one in downtown Santa Barbara, would be a more cost-effective way of detaining alcohol-challenged students rather than routinely taking them to the Main Jail. Such a location should be established in this densely populated area.

City of Santa Maria Police Station

The Santa Maria Police Department consists of 88 sworn officers, 30 civilian staff, 10 reserve members, and 40 volunteers. They are housed in a neat, but overcrowded, building, which is cramped for storage and unable to meet the need for expansion as the City grows.

At the facility, there is one holding cell and two rooms suitable for interviewing suspects. The property room, which stores trial evidence, including narcotics and firearms, has been rearranged per former Grand Jury recommendations. However, the raw wood ceiling could be a fire hazard and a sprinkler system might prevent the loss of evidence crucial to court hearings.

This facility is clean, efficient and well maintained, and includes an inside, on-site ATM available to the public day or night.

Finding 26: The needs of an expanding city (population more than 77,000) will eventually require a new structure.

Recommendation 26a: An automatic sprinkler should be installed in the property room.

Recommendation 26b: Funding and planning for a new facility should be pursued.

City of Santa Barbara Police Station

The Santa Barbara Police Station is a Type I Detention Facility with two holding cells and three interview rooms. Most people are held less than four hours before being transported to the Main Jail for booking and pre-trial detention. It is a busy police station, processing some 12,000 arrests a year (5,000 of which are felonies).

This facility was built in 1960 for a staff of 90, but population growth in the City has since increased staffing to 145 officers and 70 civilians who are now working in an overcrowded facility. In addition to administrative and office areas, the building houses the City’s state-of-the-art 9-1-1 communications center, pistol range, a facility for drug testing, locker rooms, polygraph room, forensics testing, property room, emergency command center, photo lab, and data resources, among other police station requirements.

The station feels crowded and claustrophobic. A ballot measure to build a new facility recently failed, leaving the Department to acquire space piecemeal in an adjacent office building. This new space will alleviate the crush on administrative, non-enforcement functions, but still does not solve the Department’s need to provide additional space for police services as the City of Santa Barbara grows. Police responded to 54,000 calls last year. While staffing ratios may be adequate for Santa Barbara’s resident population of 90,000, it should be noted that its daily population often reaches 130,000 to 140,000 people on weekends, and at special events like Fiesta and Summer Solstice.

Finding 27a: The Santa Barbara Police Department is well run and well respected.

Finding 27b: The Police Department is currently undergoing some staffing changes due to a new police chief.

Finding 27c: New policies will direct the Department to a collaborative Community Advisory Committee approach with a dedicated command structure, intended to be more personal and people-oriented.

Finding 27d: The Police Station is overcrowded.

Recommendation 27: Continue expanding to nearby structures, as necessary, until the public endorses a new station.

City of Guadalupe Police Department

This small town (pop. 6,000) Police Department no longer has a detention facility. Recently the door was taken off its single old-fashioned, vertical-barred cell because it didn’t meet State standards.

The Guadalupe Police Department is commended by the Grand Jury for its aggressive pursuit of categorical (non-County) grant funds for firearms and for bicycle safety issues. The Police Department’s office hours of operation are limited to weekdays, 8 a.m. to

5 p.m. Currently, the County’s Central Dispatch alerts the municipal police and Sheriff’s Deputies from Santa Maria (10 miles distant) to respond to this community’s weekend policing problems.

The force of two sergeants, nine officers, and three reserve officers take offenders to the Santa Maria Jail for processing and (see findings for "Santa Maria Jail") transport to the Main Jail. In addition, there are three civilian staff.

Finding 28a: As this is no longer a detention facility, it may not be subject to mandatory Grand Jury inspection in the future.

Finding 28b: Keeping the station open on the weekends, when most of the residents return from work outside the community, and when town tourism is at its height, is appropriate.

Recommendation 28: The Guadalupe Police Department should consider maintaining a weekend presence in the community.

City of Lompoc City Jail and Sheriff’s Sub-Station

This municipal jail holds 23 detainees, in seven cells, for up to 96-hours (four days), including honor farm trustees who are housed separately and for a longer term.

In addition to serving Lompoc’s municipal needs, the facility operates under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the County, for use of the cells that hold pretrial inmates for the adjacent County Superior Court facility. The Superior Court of Santa Barbara County in Lompoc is currently constructing new Court Holding cells. These cells will be completed in 2001 and will serve the short-term detention needs for inmates before and after their court hearings at the County Superior Court in Lompoc. The seven cells currently used by the Superior Court at the Lompoc City Jail will no longer be available for Court use when the new Court Holding cells are completed and the MOU expires.

This jail is well organized and clean, and is staffed by one to two correctional officers per shift. All (municipal and locally arrested Sheriff’s) medically needy inmates need to be transported via Special Medical Transport to the Main Jail, which can effect the jail cap. There were approximately 60 such transports in 2000.

Finding 29a: The Superior Court of Santa Barbara County in Lompoc is currently constructing new Court Holding cells. These cells will be completed in 2001 and serve the short-term detention needs for inmates before and after their court hearing at the County Superior Court in Lompoc.

Finding 29b: The seven cells currently used by the Superior Court at the Lompoc City Jail will no longer be available for Court use when the new Court Holding cells are completed and the current MOU expires.

Recommendation 29: The County should enter into a new MOU regarding the Lompoc City Jail to continue to receive jail services for

Santa Maria Court Holding Facility

This facility was built in 1994 and is well designed for the safety of both the Sheriff’s personnel and its detention functions. The staff at the facility is commended for the facility’s cleanliness.

Figueroa Street Court Holding Facility

This Court Holding Facility is located in the city center of Santa Barbara. Inmates are regularly transported across Figueroa Street to the courtrooms in the Santa Barbara Courthouse. The facility accommodates 38 pre-sentenced inmates, before and after their appearances in the (attached) Figueroa and (nearby) Anacapa Superior Courts.

Formerly the garage space for the Figueroa Street Courtrooms, this below-ground facility is L-shaped and the halls are narrow. As it is not served by the Courthouse emergency generator and is without any ambient light, power outages can create a dangerous environment inside the facility.

The ventilation system, also, has no emergency back-up.

The majority of the County’s inmates arrive in Santa Barbara by bus from the various County jail facilities (Main Jail, Lompoc, and Santa Maria). They disembark in a below-street-level driveway, visible to the public from an adjacent, privately-owned parking lot. This loading area is enclosed with six-foot walls and iron gates that limit visibility and access, but do not inhibit visibility and access to the inmates.

Because the Courthouse across the street is also a world-class tourist destination in addition to an operating courthouse, security issues at the facility were the subject of the 1999-2000 Grand Jury investigation and recommendations.

Finding 30a: Security issues at the Figueroa Street Court Holding facility, particularly in the sallyport area, continue.

Finding 30b: There is no emergency generator backing up the electrical system (hence ventilation system) in the facility.

Recommendation 30: An automatic emergency generator should be installed to serve the Figueroa Street Court Holding facility.

Finding 31a: Transporting the majority of County inmates into the downtown area of the largest city in the County for arraignments, sentencing, and court hearings makes security concerns (inmate escapes, public access, privacy from media) more acute.

Finding 31b: Escorting chained inmates (many of whom have limited English language skills) through the non-English-speaking tourists and visitors at the Courthouse renders the Sheriff’s deputies oral directives less effective, and could endanger the public, the inmates, or the Sheriff’s personnel.

Recommendation 31: An alternate system of video arraignment, based on models adopted in other counties, between the Main Jail and the judges should be considered to reduce the volume of inmates transported to the downtown Santa Barbara facility.

Old Jail in the County Courthouse

These 28,000 square feet on three levels meet the current standard for earthquake-resistant construction in downtown Santa Barbara.

This facility is located in the third, fourth, and fifth stories of the Courthouse in the north wing. It is used as a backup to the Figueroa Street Court Holding Facility across the street. Also called the Anacapa Street Court Holding Facility, it is only rarely used as a detention facility, (5% of its total square footage). Its other function as a changing area for Sheriff’s personnel (Sheriff’s bailiffs) stationed in the County Courtrooms uses only 10% of its space.

Finding 32a: This facility, directly above the District Attorney’s Office, is well-located, well-built, and has striking architectural features.

Finding 32b: The cost to convert this space would be less than the cost to purchase and build a new downtown office facility.

Recommendation 32: The Board of Supervisors should consider this well-located, abandoned jail for possible conversion to other Court-related real estate purposes.

Cities of Solvang and Buellton Sheriff’s Sub-Stations

These facilities are the center of rural crime control in the Santa Ynez Valley. Many community outreach programs, particularly in the schools, are coordinated through these offices.

Sheriff’s personnel enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship with the Chumash Reservation and Casino, although traffic issues are more acute now than formerly, taking Sheriff’s Deputies’ time away from the other responsibilities of rural crime control.


Mounted Unit

This motivated group has built a horse stable, with donated materials, adjoining the Burton-Mesa Ecology Preserve, 5,100 acres of openland north of Lompoc, owned by the State. These equestrians, who all have full-time positions in other divisions of the County law-enforcement community, perform the land search and search-and-rescue operations in the Back County, as well as urban crime suppression during large events. Since over 40% of the County is Federally owned, uninhabited, and without passable roads, this team of 14 officers and 11 horses is a necessary adjunct to the other law-enforcement arms of the County.

The Grand Jury commends the Sheriff’s Department Equestrian Bureau for their initiative and resourcefulness, and for building the stable and training facilities at minimal County cost, thus establishing this important emergency-response ability for the County.

Aviation Bureau

This Bureau has five officers who patrol and stand ready to respond to County emergencies, from all law-enforcement agencies in the County (Sheriff, CHP, and the municipal police in Guadalupe, Lompoc, Santa Maria, and Santa Barbara).

In addition to the mainland County, the Aviation Bureau responds to calls for service from the Channel Islands. It operates from 8:00 a.m. to midnight, seven days per week, using a Cessna 172-RG, a four-seat aircraft, and two 30-year-old, single-engine Bell helicopters that were given to the County by the military.

From 1997 to 2000 the bureau was dispatched to 1,452 situations, in addition to the self-initiated rescue calls identified while on patrol.

The Grand Jury commends the Sheriff’s Department for having the foresight to establish this unit four years ago. It is important that the people of the County have rescue professionals thoroughly familiar with the County’s varied land formations on the considerable tracts of uninhabited land to assure timely response to emergency rescues.

These able professionals fly out of the centrally located Santa Ynez Airport, occupying a leased hangar among many other hangars. They receive communication by telephone, radio, and Internet; there is limited access to Sheriff’s Department data files because the computer is not hooked up by cable to the County-wide data system.

There were 45 emergency rescue missions in 2000, which required almost 50% more hours than the number of search-and-rescue hours logged in 1999 and 1998, and up 81% from the mission hours logged in 1997. Emergency missions in 2000 included:

Finding 33a: The four-seat helicopters currently in operation by the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department cannot accommodate a stretcher, or a rescue of more than two ambulatory people. They do not have a second engine to assure safe transport of a heavy load for any distance, or to fly safely over water to the Channel Islands.

Finding 33b: The smaller helicopters carry only a small amount of fuel and refueling locations in the County are limited.

Recommendation 33: The County should analyze the feasibility of purchasing and operating a larger helicopter. This would enhance the Aviation Bureau’s ability to deliver emergency responders and equipment to back County rescues, as well as increase the range and carrying capacity of the helicopters.

Finding 34a: The location of the hangar at the Santa Ynez Airport is in a congested area. Emergency dispatch is compromised in the present location.

Finding 34b: The County owns land at an uncongested area at the east end of the Santa Ynez Airport.

Recommendation 34: The County should consider building a hangar on the County-owned land at the end of the airport. This may reduce response time to a critical emergency. Compare the cost of leased facility now used with inexpensive Quonset hut construction.

Finding 35: The Sheriff’s Department communications at the Santa Ynez Airport are not cabled to the County system, limiting the data exchange of the Aviation Bureau with Sheriff’s and other departments of the County government.

Recommendation 35: The Sheriff’s computers at the Santa Ynez Airport should be linked to the County system. This should be done after a decision is made about relocating the hangar. (See Recommendation 34.)

Bomb Squad

Welcome to Andros (Mark IV), the newest member of the Bomb Squad. Andros is a formidable $125,000 stainless steel robot made by Remotec, designed to approach and confront suspicious looking parcels that could be bombs. Either on four wheels or tank-like treads, Andros can move over most terrain (and climb stairs) up to an object, then gently pick it up with its extended pincers or blast it with a cannon-like stream of water or projectiles. An operator directs operation of the robot and its four cameras via a remote video console with a joystick, much like playing a video game. A 1000-foot fiber-optic cable ensures enough distance so that law-enforcement bomb squad experts can examine or explode the object. Next to "not being there," as one expert put it, this is the safest way to get close to what could be a deadly encounter.

Operators are still on a learning curve with Andros. It doesn’t climb fences, its long fiber optic tail broke once on the job, and depth perception problems operating the robot by video requires some practice to master. Still, it’s the best way to get up close and personal to a bomb without actually touching it.

Bomb disposal is more frequent in the County than might be supposed. There were more than 40 incidents last year and 80 the year before. Highly trained experts make it look easy but it can be extremely dangerous and one never knows what one is up against (interestingly, volatile fireworks disposal is the most hazardous job). The addition of Andros can seriously cut the odds of injury or loss of life.

Coroner Bureau

In Santa Barbara, the Sheriff and the Coroner is one and the same person. Unlike some other California counties, where there is an appointed medical-examiner or an elected lay coroner, the County Sheriff and the Coroner have equal and parallel responsibilities. The Coroner’s Bureau personnel are particularly well suited to the necessary autonomy of their jobs apart from other law-enforcement functions. If there is any question as to cause of death, it must be investigated and that becomes a Coroner matter. Even in death, one’s body can be legally detained until the death is certified and the body released for burial.

The Santa Barbara County Coroner’s facility, or morgue, is located in a discreet building just off San Antonio Road and Hollister Avenue. It has been there since 1991. Five rooms house administration (a Deputy Sheriff-Coroner and two investigators), secretarial, a large walk-in refrigerator with rack-space for 12 or more bodies, a fully equipped autopsy room, and a drug-testing laboratory. A shipping/receiving area provides easy loading and unloading of bodies, a frequent occurrence.

The Coroner doesn’t just handle suspicious, crime-related deaths. In fact, any trauma-caused death or non-physician-attended death (about 50% of all County deaths) come to the Coroner's attention. Of the 1,203 cases received last year, 650 required investigation to certify the cause of death. (Of these, 135, or 20%, were automobile-related.)

Although it has the facilities to perform autopsies, there is no full-time pathologist on staff. Most autopsies, in fact, are performed at Cottage Hospital under contract. Others are performed for the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Lompoc, which requires all deaths to be autopsied. Historically, the costs for these prison autopsies have not been fully reimbursed. An average prison autopsy costs approximately $2000; from November 1999 to April 2001, there were seven such Federal cases.

While most bodies come and leave quickly and are routinely returned to mortuaries, some stay for some time. Unidentified homeless people, for example, often stay for months in special sealed containers, waiting disposition from the Public Administrator as to their identity or estates. They are then cremated and buried at sea. In the case of suspicious homicides, evidence may be kept indefinitely. An unidentified female skeleton, for one, will remain until it can be identified and the crime solved. Unlike other County "detention facilities," suspicious clients don't leave until they get a clean bill of…death.

The facility also serves the living. A state-of-the-art drug testing facility employs two toxicologists who provide blood-testing services for all police jurisdictions within and without the County. The volume of tests has climbed from an average of 1,100 per month in 1997 to 1,600 per month in 2000, a 45% three-year increase. This efficient operation delivers drug test results within 24-48 hours, unlike the other private and Department of Justice labs which can have a response time ranging from weeks to months. This serves the law-enforcement, the District Attorney, and the defendant well because it can reduce unnecessary detention or can result in a speedy adjudication of the case. The lab is clean, efficient, and well managed, as is to be expected.

The Coroner’s personnel are sensitive to the needs of people in the corpse identification process, as well. This sensitivity has been developed through experience and time.

Finding 36: The autopsies performed for the Federal Bureau of Prisons facilities in Lompoc require substantial Sheriff-Coroner time in investigating, transporting, and clearance.

Recommendation 36: Federal Bureau of Prisons officials should be made aware of all costs associated with these Prison autopsy services, and agreement should be reached to provide full reimbursement to the County for all costs incurred in these services.

Finding 37: Staff members are processing an ever-increasing number of drug tests with an extremely good turn-around time.

Recommendation 37: The Sheriff-Coroner should consider the addition of a third toxicologist to accommodate the County’s drug-testing needs, so that there is no compromise of the accuracy, efficiency, and timeliness of the test results.

Finding 38: Few visitors come to the facility to identify bodies. For those who have cause to visit the center, however, there is no private room or space for consolation.

Recommendation 38: Build a reception area at the Coroner’s office.


Sheriff’s Department
Findings 1a through 19, 22, 23a, 23b, 25, 30, 31, 33, 35, 36, 37, 38
Recommendations 1a through 19, 22, 23, 25, 30, 31, 33, 35, 36, 37, 38

Board of Supervisors

Recommendations 20a, 21, 24, 25b, 29, 32, 36, 37, 38

Probation Department

Findings 3, 20
Recommendation 21

General Services
Findings 14a, 14b, 14c, 14d, 32, 38
Recommendations 14, 20b, 38

Alcohol Drug & Mental Health Services
Findings 16, 20

City of Santa Barbara Police Department
Findings 24, 27a, 27b, 27c
Recommendation 27

Santa Barbara City Council
Findings 24, 27a, 27b, 27c
Recommendation 27

City of Santa Maria Police Department
Findings 26a, 26b
Recommendation 26

Santa Maria City Council
Findings 26a, 26b
Recommendation 26

City of Guadalupe Police Department

Finding 28
Recommendation 28

Guadalupe City Council
Finding 28
Recommendation 28

City of Lompoc Police Department
Findings 29a, 29b
Recommendation 29

Lompoc City Council
Findings 29a, 29b
Recommendation 28