Santa Barbara County Jail

Nick St. Oegger

Santa Barbara County Jail

Advocates Want Pre-Dawn Jail Releases Stopped

Practice of Releasing Inmates Late At Night Endangers People Without Resources

Homeless advocates are mounting a quiet campaign to change the Santa Barbara County Jail’s practice of releasing inmates at night and in the pre-dawn hours when public transportation is unavailable. The routine puts homeless people, in particular, at risk as they usually lack family or friends with cars for rides into town, and end up walking in the dark. According to those who’ve experienced the practice, the roads from the jail have no lights and narrow shoulders.

One of these people is the 62-year-old veteran, John. (He did not want his last name used.) John has been arrested numerous times on open container violations, and said that ninety percent of his releases have been after midnight. John also happens to have impaired vision.

“And it’s dark and I’m half blind. You gotta go down this long hill then make a left where this short shoulder is about as wide as I am. Until you hit the lights you’re taking your life in your hands,” he said. “You can’t see them and they can’t see you.” To read more, see

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