SANTA BARBARA COUNTY GRAND JURY 1997-1998

 

FINAL REPORT

 

DETENTION FACILITIES IN SANTA BARBARA COUNTY 1997 – 1998

 

Released June 9, 1998

 

BACKGROUND

 

California Penal Code Section 919(b) states "The Grand Jury shall inquire into the condition and management of the public prisons within the county."

 

In Santa Barbara County there are twenty separate detention facilities used for adult and juvenile detainees. In addition to the Sheriff’s jails, these units consist of:

 

 

A complete list of the twenty units is given in Attachment A.

 

Members of the Grand Jury visited the twenty units. At least one pre-announced visit was conducted at each site. Additional unannounced visits were made to the Santa Barbara County Main Jail, The Women’s Honor Farm, the Santa Barbara Juvenile Hall, Los Prietos Boy’s Camp, and Tri-Counties Boot Camp.

 

The Grand Jury interviewed the County Sheriff and members of his management staff, the County Chief Probation Officer, members of her management staff, the City of Santa Barbara Police Chief, members of his management staff, the police Chief of the City of Guadalupe, and on-duty staff members at each of the twenty detention sites. The Grand Jury interviewed detainees at many of the sites visited.

 

Portions of the following documentation were reviewed by members of the Grand Jury during our investigation:

 

 

 

Santa Barbara County Main Jail Escapes of November 21, 1997,

and March 20, 1998

 

This section of the report examines the security system of the Main Jail and prevention measures which should deter future escapes. On November 21, 1997, four inmates escaped from the maximum security exercise yard of the Santa Barbara County Main Jail. Two of these inmates were quickly apprehended. The third escapee was caught after a high speed chase ended in an accident. The last inmate was caught several days later, over 100 miles from the escape site.

 

On March 20, 1998, three inmates escaped in a similar fashion, from another maximum security yard of the Santa Barbara County Main Jail. The escapees highjacked a car, headed southbound on highway 101, and were apprehended near La Conchita in Ventura County. Two of the three inmates were waiting trial on charges of bank robbery and murder.

 

Video Monitors

Video monitors of the maximum security areas.

The maximum security area of the main jail is monitored by a black and white video camera/monitor system. One custodial officer views these monitors while a second officer is assigned to attend to other situations in the maximum security area. During the night shift, one officer views the monitors for this particular security area.

 

For both escapes the jail staff reported that the inmates were able to prepare for the escape unnoticed because the cameras do not show the full area of the exercise yard. The correctional officers claimed this factor allowed the inmates to pry open the wire grid above the exercise yard unnoticed.

Hole made in the security fencing of the exercise yard

for the November 21, 1997 escape

 

Wire Enclosures

 

The exercise yard is a large poured concrete enclosure with a wire ceiling designed to prevent escapes and to prevent material from being thrown into the area by persons on the outside of the jail. The exercise yard is available for use by the maximum security inmates several times per week. A custodial officer examines the yard, searching for any security breeches or contraband prior to the inmates’ use of the yard. At the time of the first escape, a ledge above the doors in the exercise yard enabled the escapees to climb up and reach the wire mesh enclosing the top of that area. The escapees bent parts of this wire mesh, removed the connecting hardware, and opened the mesh. In addition, a yard telephone enabled the inmates to make collect calls to the outside of the jail.

 

At the time of the Grand Jury inspection, the wire mesh and metal plates above the exercise yard were being welded back into place. The telephone in the exercise yard was removed in order to prevent inmates from using it as a step to get to the wire mesh. According to jail staff, at the time of the March 1998 escape only three inmates were allowed into the exercise yard at one time. These three escapees had a stolen tool. According to an inmate, "The Administration failed to let the public know what was used to open the roof fence. The tool was acquired from an unsecured plumbing case deliberately left unsecured by staff members." After the escapees scaled the exercise yard wall and stood on the yard light, they used this tool to unravel part of the overhead wire

fence and make a hole. For both escapes, inmates created a hole in the wire mesh, and were able to climb outside the yard and gain access across a roof to the exterior part of the jail.

 

The Sheriff stated he had ordered removal of the yard light after the November escapes. Four months later this order still had not been carried out, and the second group of escapees were able to bend back the recently installed wire, and escape again to the roof.

At the time of the Grand Jury interview with the Sheriff concerning the March escape, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors had funded plans to upgrade the security of the main jail, but these upgrades had not yet been done:

 

 

 

 

Metal plates now welded above the exercise yard

doors to cover the ledges. Photograph is of an

adjacent exercise yard where March escape occurred.

 

FINDINGS

 

1. The video monitoring system in the Main Jail is outdated. The cameras observing the exercise yard do not show the full area of the yard.

 

2. The large oak tree and bushes around the jail have been used by escapees to climb and hide in.

Hole made by the inmates

for the March 20, 1998 escape.

 

3. Approved funds for specified security upgrade to gorilla wire were misdirected for a lower grade security material.

 

4. To date, two claims for citizen property damage have been filed against the county for the November 21, 1997 escape.

Landscaping and vegetation used by the

escaping inmates. Escapees climbed into the tree

from the roof and hid in the vegetation.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

 

1. Large color monitors should be installed providing complete coverage of the area with the appropriate light levels for both day and night time. In addition, video cameras equipped with wide angle lenses, or a camera that spans the area, should be installed. [Finding 1]

 

2. A video taping system should be used in conjunction with the monitoring cameras. These tapes would provide a factual record and should be scanned daily by a custodial officer. [Finding 1]

3. The trees and shrubs around the jail should be pruned to prevent escapees from climbing or hiding behind them. [Finding 2]

 

CONCLUSION

 

When the Sheriff asked for money to up-grade the security of the main jail, he requested additional funds specifically for the installation of "gorilla wire" in the maximum security exercise yard. Gorilla wire is an especially thick and tough wire. After this project was funded, specifications were changed to the use of expanded steel mesh. Expanded steel is substantially weaker than gorilla wire, and we question why funds allocated for gorilla wire were not used as directed.

 

The Sheriff should be held to a high level of competency and accountability. Procedures under his direct command and orders were not carried out. These escapes have cost the county in excess of $800,000 which does not include reparation for the property damage and personal injury the escapees inflicted on the community during their escape.

Door fitted with gorilla wire Expanded mesh

 

AFFECTED AGENCIES

 

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department [Findings 1, 2, 3; Recommendations 1, 2, 3]

 

Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors [Findings 1, 2, 3; Recommendations 1, 2, 3]

 

Chronic Main Jail Overcrowding

 

The existing Santa Barbara County Main Jail has a capacity of 657 inmates.

 

In 1996 the main jail held a daily average of 674 inmates, and a peak monthly average of over 700 inmates. Last year, the numbers increased to a daily average of over 750 inmates.

 

For years the main jail has consistently housed more inmates than the jail is designed to hold. On February 13, 1989, eighteen Superior Court Orders were issued to address every major mechanism in the process of local incarceration. The Sheriff took actions to relieve main jail overcrowding by:

 

Cells 8, 9, and 10 at the Main Jail are used

for the chronic substance abusers.

 

According to the Sheriff, "When the new, 128 - bed inmate reception center went on-line in January, 1992, main jail overcrowding problems were temporarily solved. But by the middle and end of summer, new beds were filling rapidly, and overcrowding and floor sleeping problems returned. As ever increasing inmate population numbers strained overloaded and understaffed jail facilities, the American Civil Liberties Union filed its overcrowding lawsuit of October, 1995."

 

FINDINGS

 

1. Overcrowding of the main jail in Santa Barbara and lack of a major jail in the north county are the basic reasons for many of the problems associated with the Sheriff’s custodial operations.

 

2. Each additional detainee requires more time of an already overburdened staff. This overcrowding also places additional pressure on the detainees, causing morale problems.

Pressures build up and eventually cause many serious problems for the jail staff.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

 

1. The County Board of Supervisors should use all available resources to build new jail facilities in Northern Santa Barbara County. [Findings 1, 2]

2. A plan for interim holding facilities should be developed until a new facility is built. [Findings 1, 2]

 

 

AFFECTED AGENCY

 

Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors [Findings 1, 2; Recommendation 1, 2]

 

Conclusion

 

Last year, the Grand Jury concluded that building new facilities would be required to solve the chronic overcrowding problem. After studying the entire jail and probation systems, including the Sheriff’s inmate classification efforts and community based punishment options, the 1997-1998 Grand Jury reaches the same conclusion.

 

INSPECTIONS

 

The County Jails

 

The Sheriff operates a main jail at Santa Barbara and a branch jail at Santa Maria. The Grand Jury conducted pre-announced visits at both jails, and unannounced visits at Santa Barbara. The 1997-1998 Grand Jury investigated individual inmates’ complaints and reviewed psychiatric care, transportation, and meal preparation.

 

Psychiatric Care

 

There are two full time mental health employees at the jail, but no psychiatric care unit in the jail. Inmates can be sent to an outside psychiatric unit for up to three days, and fourteen additional days with a court order.

 

We learned that some inmates refuse to take the psychiatric medicines prescribed for them by the jail medical staff. The jail staff feels that normally once this medication is taken, mentally ill inmates seldom cause further problems, and will voluntarily take their medicine. But inmates may refuse to take the initial dose. Occasionally, on an emergency

basis, the jail staff can forcefully administer this medicine. Normally an inmate who refuses his medication is sent to the county psychiatric unit.

 

The county psychiatric unit is at the county mental health facility on Calle Real. The unit can house up to sixteen persons, but often has more. The unit is staffed by competent personnel, and appears to be a well run secure psychiatric unit. However, the unit was intended for non-criminal mentally ill patients. The county psychiatric staff states that to strengthen this unit for criminal mentally ill patients would adversely affect the treatment of the non-violent patients.

 

FINDINGS

1. Inmates are normally allowed the California mandated minimum of three hours a week outside in daylight. When prisoners are in jail for a short term, a few weeks or months, there may be only short term ill effects on their health. But the lack of sunlight for stays of longer duration can cause illness. According to the psychiatric health facility staff, vitamins A and especially D, for instance, require doses of sun in order to be absorbed by the body.

 

2. Male prisoners are regularly discharged at midnight or later when the jail staff has plenty of time to finish paper work. This inconvenient discharge time puts them on dark streets with no available transportation. Female prisoners are only released in daylight hours.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

 

1. Time should be allocated for staff to get inmates outdoors on a daily basis. [Finding 1]

 

2. Discharges should be scheduled for times when freed inmates can get transportation, not when the time and circumstances are conducive to more crimes. [Finding 2]

 

AFFECTED AGENCIES

 

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department [ Findings 1, 2; Recommendations 1, 2]

 

Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors [ Findings 1, 2; Recommendations 1, 2]

 

Transportation

 

It is the responsibility of the Sheriff’s department to transport inmates to and from court. This requires a complex and secure transportation system. All inmates are awakened and fed at 4 AM so that a few inmates can appear at distant courts (up to 70 miles each way), by 8:00 AM.

 

FINDING

 

1. Transportation of a few inmates to far-off courts has forced the whole jail into irregular hours of eating which will require extra adjustments when inmates return to life outside.

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

1. Put inmates who need to go back to Santa Maria court in a special area and feed them separately either in Santa Barbara or after they arrive in Santa Maria. [Finding 1]

 

AFFECTED AGENCIES

 

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department [ Finding 1; Recommendations 1]

 

Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors [ Finding 1; Recommendation 1]

Meals Preparation

 

The Sheriff’s department is responsible for feeding 1,000 plus inmates daily. In the smaller outlying facilities, inmates are fed sandwiches or TV dinners. The vast majority is fed complete meals prepared by the Sheriff’s department staff and inmates from the Men’s Honor Farm. These meals are also provided at cost for the Santa Barbara Juvenile Hall. The inmates of the Women’s Honor Farm make the meals for their facility.

Standard meal for the inmates

 

One of the major complaints by the inmates of the Santa Barbara Detention Facilities is about the quality of the food. Many citizens feel that the inmates are being punished, and thus do not have a right to complain about what they eat as long as it is sanitary and healthy. The Grand Jury made a special effort to evaluate the food served by the detention system of Santa Barbara County. This evaluation included eating meals from

the regular chow line, as well as the disciplinary meals. Members of the Grand Jury found the regular meals served to the inmates are well planned. Due to the severe overcrowded conditions, the inmates can only eat a hot meal once per day. In the opinion of the Grand Jury these meals compare favorably with any institutional - cafeteria food prepared by schools, hospitals, or the military.

 

The ‘disciplinary meal’ has recently been mentioned by the news. It has been condemned by a few vocal inmates and concerned citizens as unfit to eat. This meal is served by the jail staff as minor punishment. It can not be fed the inmates for over ten days in a row, and then there must be at least three days before it is fed to the same inmate again. If this meal is to be fed for over 72 hours, there must be special written approval of the jail physician. This menu was made and approved by the California Correctional System, and is a basic meatloaf.

 

One half pound is given to the inmate twice each day along with two slices of commercially made bread, and water.

Disciplinary meal

 

While the disciplinary meal is undoubtedly boring if fed for a long period of time, members of the Grand Jury found it is tasty and edible.

 

Old Jail Facility

 

Before the main jail on Calle Real opened, the Sheriff operated a jail in the Santa Barbara County Courthouse which occupies the upper floors of the east wing. The old jail facilities are currently not used for any significant purpose. The old jail facility was inspected by the Grand Jury.

 

FINDING

 

1. The old jail facilities are currently empty and not used for any significant purpose. A few cells are used occasionally, on an as needed basis.

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

1. The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department should either update these facilities, so they can be used to relieve the overcrowding in the main jail, or release the old jail to other departments so the space can be better utilized. The best alternative may be up-dating several cells for use by the Superior Courts, and releasing the remainder of the space to the District Attorney’s Office and / or the Superior Courts. [Finding 1]

 

AFFECTED AGENCIES

 

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department [Finding 1; Recommendations 1]

Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors [Finding 1; Recommendation 1]

 

Holding Cells at Police Stations

Holding cells are normally used to temporarily hold detainees - for a maximum of three hours. Holding cells are operated at police stations at Santa Maria, Lompoc, Santa Barbara and Guadalupe. Each of these facilities was inspected by the Grand Jury.

 

The holding cell at Guadalupe was inspected by the State Board of Corrections on September 15, 1997. The facility has not been inspected for fire or health department conditions. The state’s primary concern is whether or not the jail can obtain a one year fire clearance.

 

FINDING

 

1. Members of the Grand Jury were generally impressed with the Guadalupe Police Chief’s ability to run the city department with very limited resources. We are concerned with the state report that the city holding cell had not been inspected for fire or health department regulations.

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

1. If not yet completed, appropriate fire and health department inspections at the city holding cell should be conducted immediately. [Finding 1]

 

AFFECTED AGENCIES

 

Guadalupe Police Department [Finding 1; Recommendation 1]

 

Santa Barbara County Health Care Services [Finding 1; Recommendation 1]

 

Santa Barbara County Fire Department [Finding 1; Recommendation 1]

Holding Cells at Sheriff’s Substations

 

Holding cells are normally used to temporarily hold detainees - for a maximum of three hours. Holding cells are operated at Sheriff’s Substations at New Cuyama, Santa Maria, Santa Ynez Valley Substation, Isla Vista, and Carpinteria. Each of these cells was inspected by members of the Grand Jury.

The Sheriff conducts a foot patrol operation at Isla Vista. The Isla Vista Foot Patrol is a unique operation where the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department, along with the California Highway Patrol, and the University of California at Santa Barbara Police jointly operate a substation. Personnel of this substation use an empty converted room as an ‘interview room’. This interview room doubles as a ‘holding cell’. It is adjacent to the entrance of the substation, and more accessible to the public than to law enforcement officers. This room is enclosed, so there is no way for an officer to see any suspect inside without opening the door.

FINDINGS

1. The Isla Vista interview room does not meet the state requirements for a holding cell.

 

2. Additional signs are needed indicating directions to the Santa Ynez Valley Substation.

Parking lot for the Santa Ynez Substation

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

 

1. The Isla Vista ‘interview room’ should be upgraded to meet the requirements for a holding cell, and should be regularly inspected by the State Board of Corrections. [Finding 1]

 

2. The Sheriff’s Department should post better signs near the Santa Ynez Valley Substation. [Finding 2]

 

AFFECTED AGENCIES

 

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department [ Findings 1, 2; Recommendations 1, 2]

 

Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors [ Findings 1, 2; Recommendations 1, 2]

 

Holding Cells at Court Facilities

 

Holding cells at courts are used to temporarily hold detainees awaiting court appearances or transportation. These cells are not for overnight detention. The Sheriff operates holding cells in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara. There are also court holding cells in the Lompoc City Jail. Members of the Grand Jury inspected each of these cells.

 

At the Santa Barbara Municipal Court, the holding facility has 8 holding cells. There is an open area for transferring the prisoners between the vans and the facility. This area can be closed with fences at both ends of the yard. According to staff criminals are increasingly sophisticated and violent.

 

FINDING

 

1. The fences surrounding the area for transporting prisoners between the vans and the Santa Barbara Municipal Court holding facilities are not sufficiently secure.

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

1. The fences enclosing the area for transporting prisoners from the van to the Santa Barbara Municipal Court facilities should be upgraded to increase security. [Finding 1]

 

AFFECTED AGENCIES

 

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department [Finding 1; Recommendations 1]

 

Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors [Finding 1; Recommendation 1]

 

Honor Farms Operated by the Sheriff

 

Santa Barbara County operates two honor farms. These facilities house low risk non-violent offenders.

 

The men’s honor farm was built in 1961 and is located immediately north of the main jail in Goleta. Following the 1989 installation of "triple bunks," the facility now houses up to 259 inmates. These inmates are placed in one of three categories:

 

 

La Morada, the women’s honor farm, is located in Goleta, and is designed to house up to 36 inmates. They grow food only for their own consumption.

Classroom and garden at La Morada Women’s Honor Farm

Bedroom at La Morada Women’s Honor Farm

 

The civilian director of inmate services administers educational programs for inmates at both honor farms.

The county’s work furlough program is also operated through the two honor farms. The men’s program has been in operation since 1971. The women’s program started in 1983. Inmates in the program work at civilian jobs during the day. They return to the honor farms at night and stay there on weekends and holidays.

 

Lompoc City Jail

 

The city of Lompoc uses two of its cells as court holding cells. One custodial officer is always on duty. The custodial officer provides back-up for the police dispatcher. There are television cameras in the halls in front of the cells with the monitors in the dispatch room. These monitors are not well located, so they are difficult for the dispatcher to see. According to staff during a ‘rushed’ period are probably not viewed frequently.

 

One death occurred in the jail during 1997 which the coroner concluded was suicide. In our review of this suicide, we considered recommending that Lompoc install additional cameras in at least some of the cells. But the State Board of Corrections in their September 30, 1997 inspection report concluded that:

 

"(The Board) does not recommend the addition of cameras to observe the activities in each housing cell. Cameras in those areas do not substitute staff’s interaction and personal observation of inmates in the housing cells. The existence of cameras in those locations tend to encourage staff to rely on the camera rather than the personal contact with inmates."

 

FINDINGS

 

1. Twenty-four hour taping of the output of monitoring cameras can be reviewed by a custodial officer at later times to provide a factual basis for jail house investigation.

 

2. There is currently no other way to insure personal observation of the cells.

RECOMMENDATIONS

 

1. The Lompoc City Jail should be equipped with a twenty-four hour video recording system. Additional monitors for the cameras should be placed at a location which will provide better viewing for a jail custodian. [Finding 1]

 

2. Create a method such as a time clock, placed at the end of the cell corridor, to insure that custodial officers regularly observe inmates in cells.

 

AFFECTED AGENCIES

 

Lompoc City Council [Finding 1; Recommendation 1]

Lompoc City Police Chief [Finding 1; Recommendation 1]

 

 

Santa Maria Municipal Court

 

The Santa Maria Municipal Court cells are part of a state-of-the-art facility.

 

Santa Maria Municipal Court Holding Facilities

 

Juvenile Detention Facilities

 

The Santa Barbara Juvenile Hall is under the management of the probation department. The Grand Jury visited the Hall on four occasions: August 6, 1997, August 12, 1997, April 5, 1998, and April 6, 1998.

 

On these visits we observed the following:

 

• Living halls are co-ed. Detainees range from 8 to 19 years old, with the most common age between 15 and 17.

 

• The average stay at the facility is less than a week. In unusual cases, the juvenile may be detained for a period of two weeks.

 

• While state requirements limit the Santa Barbara hall to a maximum of 56 juveniles, at the time of the Grand Jury visit there were 65 minors being detained at the hall. The additional inmates were doubled up in rooms, with many sleeping on mattresses placed on the floor.

 

• Every minor receives a complete physical when admitted to the hall. There is one full time nurse who works 30 hours per week in the Hall, and a doctor visits the facility three days per week.

 

• Three of the bedrooms are equipped with observation cameras. However, there are no provisions to record any activity in these rooms.

 

• The use of pepper spray has increased over the past year from approximately once a month to once a week.

 

• There is a five point restraint room located in the facility which has been used approximately five times since 1990.

 

• Lighting in most areas has not been corrected as requested by previous Grand Juries.

 

• There has been a considerable growth in the number of violent youth offenders placed in the Santa Barbara Juvenile Hall resulting in increasing gang rivalry. As a result of this hostile activity, the Hall has been subjected to more "lock down" status.

 

FINDINGS

 

1. The most glaring condition observed at Santa Barbara Juvenile Hall is its lack of cleanliness, housekeeping, general condition, and obvious lack of physical maintenance of the building and grounds. The Grand Jury was informed that due to a shortage of staff and for security concerns, detainees cannot be utilized for cleaning and minor maintenance, as practiced at Santa Maria Juvenile Hall, Los Prietos Boys Camp and the Boot Camp.

 

2. The short duration of a minor’s detention is a matter of probation policy, and not a state mandate. Juveniles who might benefit from a longer stay could in fact be detained for a longer time.

 

3. Juvenile Institution Officers (JIO) indicate that overcrowding is the major problem confronting the hall. This overcrowding has been exacerbated even more due to a federal roll back of funds in 1995 which resulted in a loss of $2 million, and a drop in JIO positions.

 

4. There is an unusually high attrition rate among JIO officers and staff. During the past 18 months (January, 1997 – May, 1998), twenty JIOs left the probation department.

 

5. Vacant positions are not filled in a timely fashion. According to the most recent probation department financial report, "This year in particular, due to vacancies earlier in the year, we were able to identify $450,000 as our construction match for the Santa Maria Juvenile Hall. We have identified other onetime projects for a total of $650,000 from salary savings." This Grand Jury is concerned that the savings of $1.1 million by the Probation Department comes at the expense of the safety and well being of youth detainees, Juvenile Institution Officers, and staff.

 

6. Based on financial reports supplied to the Grand Jury, revenue and costs for maintaining Santa Barbara Juvenile Hall, food, employee salaries, and other services are not consistent with revenues and costs of the other juvenile facilities in the county (see Attachment B).

 

Examples:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. In reviewing financial data, we have found insufficient revenue to support the juvenile detention facilities which require the expenditure of millions of dollars. (refer to Probation Department Financial Status, Programs 2100, 2200, 2300, 2400)

 

8. In Santa Barbara Juvenile Hall a fully outfitted kitchen (built originally we were told at a cost of $1 million +) and refurbished in 1990 at a reported cost of approximately $45,000 is not used. The 1992-1993 Grand Jury was informed the facility was not used due to "insufficient funding for staff." The 1997-1998 Grand Jury was told the kitchen cannot be used for "security reasons, insurance liability, and lack of staff."

This facility, with 2500 square feet, has remained unused for over eight years, along with tens of thousands of dollars in stainless steel preparation equipment, sinks, stove,

freezers, deep fryer, overhead ventilation hood, serving area. Food is now prepared and delivered to the Santa Barbara Juvenile Hall from the county jail.

Unused kitchen facilities at the Santa Barbara Juvenile Hall

 

9. Approximately 3,600 square feet of outdoor recreation area is overgrown and cannot be used due to inadequate fencing and other security reasons.

 

Unused exercise yard at the Santa Barbara Juvenile Hall.

 

10. Many of the problems experienced at the Santa Barbara Juvenile Hall are the result of overcrowding.

 

11. Santa Barbara Juvenile Hall admitted 1,309 detainees from January, 1997 – May 11, 1998, with average daily attendance of 58. Santa Maria Juvenile Hall admitted 1,964

detainees during the same period, with average daily attendance of 24. The Grand Jury questions what happens to the overwhelming number of youth offenders in Santa Maria, since the 20 rooms available there are less than half of those available at the Santa Barbara Juvenile Hall.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

 

1. Immediate attention needs to be given to the physical condition and maintenance of the Santa Barbara Juvenile Hall. General Services should evaluate the conditions and damage to this facility and make an assessment of the practicality of making extensive renovations. We further request that this assessment be included in the response to this recommendation.

 

 

 

 

2. The unused kitchen space at the Santa Barbara Juvenile Hall should be utilized. This space could be used for much needed additional detainee housing. Kitchen equipment could be transferred to other county facilities and/or donated to a worthy charity. Otherwise the juveniles should be trained to use it and learn a skill as was originally intended. [Finding 8]

 

3. The issues of staff morale and attrition need to be addressed. The cost to the county to hire and train Juvenile Institution Officers, only to have them transfer to other safety facilities, often outside the county, is a drain on both county resources and employee morale. [Finding 3 and Finding 4]

 

4. When Juvenile Institution Officers and staff leave for any reason, their positions should be filled immediately with qualified replacement personnel. [Finding 5]

 

5. Change the policy regarding short duration of minor detention. This is a probation department policy and not a state mandate. Longer incarceration could result in greater impact on the detainee, thus affecting the recidivism rate. [Finding 2]

 

6. Due to increasing numbers of violent youth offenders being detained at juvenile facilities additional Juvenile Institution Officers should be hired. [Finding 5]

 

7. Immediate consideration should be given to finding a suitable facility to house and protect juvenile detainees in south county until additional facilities can be allocated or built. [Finding 9]

 

8. The County of Santa Barbara should construct 20 additional rooms at the Santa Maria Juvenile Hall. [Finding 9]

 

9. The Probation Department should join with the Sheriff’s Department and build additional facilities in Northern Santa Barbara County. This addition will allow the sharing of facilities, such as laundry and kitchen areas, between these departments. [Finding 10]

 

10. The County should hire an independent auditor to audit the Probation Department management and operation of these facilities. [Finding 6]

Santa Maria Juvenile Hall

 

AFFECTED AGENCIES

 

The Santa Barbara County Probation Department [Findings 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11; Recommendations 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]

 

Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors [Findings 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11; Recommendations 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]

 

 

Los Prietos Boy’s Camp Operated by the County Probation Department

 

Los Prietos is a residential treatment center for 60 male juvenile wards of court between ages of 13 and 18. It is located in the Los Padres National Forest, twenty miles north of Santa Barbara. The land is owned by the U.S. Forest Service and is leased to Santa Barbara County.

Minors, called Juvenile Court Wards, are ordered into this program by the Superior Court for delinquent behavior. The treatment program includes drug and alcohol counseling, mental health services, academic instruction, vocational instruction, and family counseling.

Dormitory at Los Prietos Boy’s Camp

 

Tri-Counties Boot Camp

 

The new boot camp is funded by the Federal Department of Justice. It serves a tri-county area, and has 40 beds at the site of Los Prietos Boy’s Camp. It began operations in November 1997.

 

The Boot Camp is for non-violent offenders. Santa Barbara County’s bed allocation is 15; Ventura County’s is 20; San Luis Obispo has access to 5 beds.

 

 

Exterior of the Tri-Counties Boot Camp

 

Camp costs per individual at Los Prietos is $2,650 a month. Equivalent care in a privately run facility would cost $3,700 a month. Comparable costs at boot camp are not available.

The program is operated by the Santa Barbara County Probation Department and teaches leadership. It focuses on building self-esteem, positive decision-making, and healthy work ethics. Youths are employed in work projects for the local forestry service.

 

FINDINGS

 

1. Aftercare supervision is conducted by the Field Services Division of the Probation Department.

 

2. Recidivism peaks during the first six months after the youths return to the community.

 

3. Ninety to 100% of camp graduates are considered high risk delinquent youth.

 

4. Limited research is available on the effectiveness of Camp placement as a change agent in modifying a youth’s behavior when he returns to the community. Measures of effectiveness are not available.

 

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

 

1. The Probation Department should evaluate the effectiveness of Camp Placement and other out-of-home placements in modifying delinquent behavior. [Finding 4]

 

2. Probation Department should provide short-term intensive aftercare service for all graduates with specific performance objectives to be achieved for each individual when he is released from this program. [Finding 1]

 

AFFECTED AGENCIES

 

The Santa Barbara County Probation Department [ Findings 1, 2, 3; Recommendations 1, 2, 3]

 

Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors [ Findings 1, 2, 3; Recommendations 1, 2, 3]

 

 

Affected Agency

 

We want to advise you that California Penal Code Section 933.05 requires that responses to Grand Jury Findings and Recommendations must be made in writing to the Presiding Judge of the Superior Court and the Grand Jury Foreperson within 90 days (Governing bodies) or 60 days (Department heads) of the issuance of the report

 

Therefore the Grand Jury requires that you respond to each of the Findings and Recommendations that applies to your agency.

 

Please send your response to:

Honorable Judge Frank J. Oachoa

Presiding Judge, Santa Barbara County Superior Court

1100 Anacapa Street

Santa Barbara, CA. 93121

and

Grand Jury Foreperson at the same address.

 

Responses to the Grand Jury should be submitted on a 3 ½ inch computer disk (preferably in Word) along with the printed response.

 

 

 

COMMENDATION

 

During the conduct of facility inspections, members of the Grand Jury were received with courtesy and cooperation. Many of our visits were unannounced. The responsiveness displayed by corrections officers, their staffs, and other law enforcement professionals is appreciated by the 1997-1998 Grand Jury.

 

 

CONCLUSION

 

Juvenile detention can be the first impression of justice and correction for the juvenile, which may affect the youth the rest of his/her life. It is imperative that every effort be made by those officials who have been entrusted with this duty to keep the juvenile from returning.

 

With over 85% of the fiscal year accounted for, there remains a $3.3+ million deficit which, members of the Grand Jury have been informed by members of detention staff, will "magically appear" either through federal funds or bailout each year by the Santa Barbara Board of Supervisors. As a result of this deficit funding mode of operation, we were further informed that the Chief Probation Officer seldom requests funds for Santa Barbara Juvenile Hall upgrades, repairs, maintenance, or other improvements. The savings realized by those who administer Santa Barbara Juvenile Hall come at the

expense of the juvenile detainees who must languish in overcrowded, poorly maintained facilities. Local, state, and federal government funds, along with the competition for grant dollars, have become increasingly intense. The need for funding has obscured the department’s purpose – to provide safety and security to juvenile detainees.

 

 

 

 

 

Attachment A

 

 

Carpinteria Sheriff’s Department Substation

5775 Carpinteria Avenue

Carpinteria 93013

3 holding cells

 

Guadalupe Police Department

City Of Guadalupe

4490 10th Street

Guadalupe 93434

1 holding cell

 

Isla Vista Foot Patrol

6546A Pardall

Isla Vista, CA

 

La Posada,

Santa Barbara Juvenile Hall

Probation Department

4500 Hollister Avenue

Goleta, CA 93110

56 bed juvenile facility

 

Lompoc Police Department

City Of Lompoc

107 Civic Center Plaza

Lompoc 93436

10 cell jail

 

Los Prietos Boys’ Camp

Probation Department

Star Route, Paradise Road

Santa Barbara 93105

56 bed juvenile facility

 

New Cuyama Substation

Sheriff’s Department

215 Newsome Street

New Cuyama 93254

1 holding cell

Santa Barbara County

Main Jail

Sheriff’s Department

4336 Calle Real

Santa Barbara 93110

657 – 1049 bed jail

 

Santa Barbara County

Men’s Honor Farm

Sheriff’s Department

4434 Calle Real

Santa Barbara 93110

257 bed jail

 

Santa Barbara County

Old Jail Facilities

Sheriff’s Department

1105 Santa Barbara Street

Santa Barbara 93101

 

Santa Barbara County

Women’s Honor Farm

Sheriff’s Department

66 San Antonio Road

Santa Barbara 93110

36 bed jail

 

Santa Barbara Police Department

City Of Santa Barbara

215 East Figueroa Street

Santa Barbara 93101

2 holding cells

 

 

Santa Barbara City Sobering Center

Santa Barbara Police Department and ‘Threshold To Recovery’

17 East Haley Street

Santa Barbara 93101

 

 

Attachment A, page2

 

 

Santa Barbara Municipal Court

Sheriff’s Department

118 E Figueroa Street

Santa Barbara 93101

8 holding cells

 

Santa Barbara Superior Court

Sheriff’s Department

1105 Santa Barbara Street

Santa Barbara 93101

8 holding cells

 

Santa Maria Municipal Court

Sheriff’s Department

312 E Cook Street

Santa Maria 93454

12 holding cells

 

Santa Maria Juvenile Hall

Probation Department

812 B West Foster Rd.

Santa Maria 93454

20 bed juvenile facility

 

 

Santa Maria Police Department

City Of Santa Maria

222 Cook Street

Santa Maria 93454

1 holding cell

 

Santa Maria Substation

Branch Jail

Sheriff’s Department

812 W Foster Rd.

Santa Maria 93455

9 cell jail

 

Santa Ynez Valley Substation

Sheriff’s Department

1745 Mission Drive

Solvang 93463

1 holding cell

 

Tri-Counties Boot Camp

Probation Department

Star Route, Paradise Road

Santa Barbara 93105

40 bed juvenile facility

 

Attachment B

 

Financial Accountability: Probation Department: Juvenile Detention Facilities

 

The following is based on information supplied by Santa Barbara Probation Department, for the period July 1, 1997 - May 11, 1998, accounting for 85% of budget, revenue and expenditures to date.

 

1. Admissions and Average Daily Attendance per facility, January '97 - March '98:

Total Admissions ADA

a. Juvenile Hall 1,309 58

b. Santa Maria Hall 1,964 24

c. Los Prietos 312 53

d. Boot Camp 94 29

1. Household Expenses (#7070) - per detainee by unit:

# Detainees ¸ 300 days Cost per day

a Juvenile Hall 58 $497.79 $1.66

b. Santa Maria Hall 24 1,218.01 4.06

c. Los Prietos 53 509.87 1.70

d. Boot Camp 29 464.61 1.94

2. Food costs (#7060): # Detainees ¸ 300 days Cost per meal

a. Juvenile Hall 58 $83.13 .48

b. Santa Maria 24 302.79 4.21

c. Los Prietos 53 315.73 1.99

d. Boot Camp 29 83.59 .97

3. Salaries (#6900, 6951, 6990)

Unit # Employees # Detainees Salaries/Benefits

a Juvenile Hall 35 58 $1,307,957.38

b. Santa Maria Hall 26 24 1,005,440.37

c. Los Prietos 26 53 999,416.25

d. Boot Camp 18 29 575,469.