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Jail Inmates Are Santa’s Helpers, Refurbishing Bikes for Charity

Recycle a Bicycle Program rolling again this holiday season

A jail inmate helps get bicycles back in shape to be given as gifts to underpriviledged adults and kids.
A jail inmate helps get bicycles back in shape to be given as gifts to underpriviledged adults and kids. (Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office)

Dozens of Santa Barbara County underprivileged adults and children will have bicycles for Christmas, thanks to a long-standing Sheriff’s Office tradition.

Each year, the Sheriff’s Office collects bicycles, either through evidence, recovered or unclaimed stolen property, abandonment or through donations. In many cases, the bikes are in need of minor repair or reconditioning.

To get these bikes back on the road and safe to ride, the Sheriff’s Office started a Recycle a Bicycle Program, where Santa Barbara County Jail inmates enrolled in work programs refurbish the bikes and effect minor repairs. The program has grown substantially over the years.

This year, Santa Barbara County inmates refurbished more than 25 bicycles that were donated to local charities in time for holiday season. On Dec. 14, the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Barbara County picked up about a dozen bikes and on Dec. 16, the Unity Shoppe picked up about a dozen more.  

The Recycle a Bicycle Program gives inmates an opportunity to give back to their community. It also allows them a chance to develop bicycle-repair skills.

The Recycle a Bicycle Program requires no budget since inmates do the work and are not paid. The inmates also do not receive additional credits for time off their sentences for participating in the program.

This program was a previous recipient of the California State Association of Counties Challenge Award for demonstrating effective, original and cost-conscious ways that counties are serving their citizens. 

— Kelly Hoover for Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.






Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office

                   Kelly Hoover                Date:  12/17/2016
      Public Information Officer        Time: 10:15 a.m.
                     (805) 681-4192

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