Wednesday, September 19 , 2018, 3:07 am | Fair 62º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Governor Signs Bill That Could Lead to More Overcrowding at Santa Barbara County Jail

Assembly Bill 109 shifts the burden of housing inmates, but it won’t be implemented until the state can back up the mandate with funding

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Monday that will shift the burden of housing lower-level, nonviolent offenders from state prisons to county jails and that could gradually send 300 more inmates through the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, according to department spokesman Drew Sugars.

County jails are less expensive to house inmates, and lesser offenders such as parole violators often spend only a few months in prison, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Assembly Bill 109 won’t be implemented until the state can back up the mandate with funding, which Sugars said is imperative for counties to handle the extra inmates. He said there needs to be a constitutional amendment that provides for continuous funding so counties don’t have to fight for money each year.

Santa Barbara County’s Main Jail and other detention facilities are perennially overcrowded, so funding needs go beyond housing and programs for inmates — it needs to cover increased capacity, according to Sugars.

In November, voters turned down Measure S, a public safety half-cent sales tax. Though the county was awarded a $56 million grant to build a new jail, it’s conditional on the county providing matching funds for construction and operation.

Sheriff Bill Brown is in touch with other counties and remains “proactive” about finding solutions to overcrowding, because as it stands now, “we don’t have the facilities to accommodate 300 more inmates,” Sugars said.

Eighty percent of Santa Barbara Main Jail inmates are pre-trial — generally more violent, since their high bail or lack of bail keeps them off the streets — and the rest are serving sentences of up to one year. People convicted of longer sentences are sent to state prisons.

The Sheriff’s Department has experience in recidivism-reducing programs such as the Sheriff’s Treatment Program, educational programs and day reporting centers that offer services for recently released inmates transitioning back into society.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >