Thursday, June 21 , 2018, 4:18 am | Overcast 61º

 
 
 
 

Letter to the Editor: North County Jail Project Badly Needed

I recently joined the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office as the chief of custody operations.

My career in corrections began in 1982 when I joined the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office in Syracuse, New York, as a custody deputy. Over the last several years, I became active in the New York State Sheriff’s Association and the American Jail Association, working as a consultant and assessor of jails across the country.

In that capacity, I have toured a countless number of correctional facilities over the years.

The core mission of every correctional facility is rehabilitation. We should always strive to make a positive impact on the members of our community that are committed to our care.

We lack the appropriate facilities and as a result we are failing in that mission. The offenders who are released from our jail are, for the most part, no-better prepared to be successful in the community than when we booked them.

The ones who are most at risk to re-offend, the mentally ill and the addicted, are the most adversely effected. This is simply because we have do not have either the physical plant or the staffing resources required to deliver modern and effective custody services.

The community has been placed on notice, by numerous studies and reports, that the current facilities are inadequate. The current litigation relative to overcrowding has remained in our local court only because there has been perceived progress toward building a new facility.

If this case is moved to federal court, the county will be in a very poor position. In my experience, federal magistrates will impose their judgment regardless of the cost or the county’s means to pay. 

Furthermore, the conditions in the jail are also detrimental to the custody staff. As the sheriff seeks to fill positions and reduce the operating costs, his efforts are challenged by the fact that all he can offer potential new staff members is an overcrowded and rundown facility.

The North County Jail project will place the sheriff in a much better position to recruit, hire, and retain competent staff.

The discussion around building this jail has been underway for years. We have the opportunity to end the discussion and begin the work. We should do so.

This matter will be considered by the Board of Supervisors on Monday, May 23, at 9 a.m. 

Sincerely,

Vincent Wasilewski

Chief Custody Deputy, Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office

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 through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • 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 >