Santa Barbara County Jail

Paul Wellman (file)

Santa Barbara County Jail

State Recommends S.B. Receive $38.9 Million in New Jail Funding

Money Would Be Put Toward Anti-Recidivism Housing, Programs at North County Facility

Friday, December 13, 2013
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Santa Barbara’s proposed North County Jail — projected to be up and running by the first half of 2018 — is one step closer to getting the $38.9 million in funding it needs for an additional wing dedicated to recidivism-reducing programs. On Thursday, a state committee recommended that the county receive the grant; the final decision will be announced on January 16.

Santa Barbara County qualified for the grant under SB 1022, a state bill passed to provide money for jails to create space for custodial housing, reentry programs, and mental-health treatment. In October, Sheriff Bill Brown successfully made his case to the Board of Supervisors — who had to approve the application and agree to match the grant money by 10 percent — for why the Sheriff’s Office should move forward with the bid.

“Today’s news is huge for Santa Barbara County on several different levels,” Brown said in a statement released by the Sheriff’s Office on Thursday. “The additional $38.9 million in funding will be added to our previous $80 million award and will allow us to design and build a properly sized jail in our North County. It will be a model for safely housing criminal offenders, but also for delivering rehabilitative services that will change lives and ultimately reduce recidivism.”

If the Sheriff’s Office is awarded the $38.9 million in January, it will be used to build, as part of the new jail, a Sheriff’s Transition and Reentry (STAR) Complex, a 52-208-square-foot wing for an extra 228 inmates. The addition would feature one transitional housing unit for 64 inmates, one Sheriff’s Treatment Program unit for another 64 inmates, and two 50-bed housing areas for inmates in reentry programs. The opening of the STAR complex would mean the closing of certain housing areas in the Main Jail on Calle Real, as well as the shifting of staff to the new jail. The $38.9 million grant would come in addition to the $80 million already set aside for the construction of the main portion of the new jail. Brown has argued that the $80 million is no longer sufficient given the increased number of inmates because of AB 109, a law passed in 2011 that shifted responsibility for certain inmates from the state to the counties.

The supervisors in October agreed to provide the Sheriff’s Office with $3.9 million — taken from the strategic reserve — in matching funds if the county receives the grant. Adding the wing to the new jail will also, the Sheriff’s Office has said, increase the annual operating costs for both jails — approximately $17 million — by $310,700. Brown has said that the extra funding could possibly come from AB 109 money, and department spokesperson Kelly Hoover said Friday that other ways to close the gap will be explored.

SB 1022 has set aside $500 million in bond sales for qualified counties across the state. If it wins the funding, Santa Barbara County would receive close to $40 million out of a $160 million pot reserved for the state’s 14 designated medium-sized counties.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Yes! Thank you, Sheriff BILL Brown.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
December 13, 2013 at 9:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

...and he can't even afford to hold Santa Maria arrestees in Santa Maria now (SMPD has been driving arrestees to the Goleta jail). How is he going to pay to operate said new jail?

fredb93117 (anonymous profile)
December 14, 2013 at 7:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

From what I can see there is NO plan for funding the operation of the ever-expanding new jail- sure, the state grants pay for the construction (minus ten percent) but zero commitment for operating costs. how is that something to celebrate?

whosecityisthis2012 (anonymous profile)
December 14, 2013 at 8:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Public safety is job number one for the county, so it is up to the board of supervisors to adjust the county budget accordingly.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
December 15, 2013 at 8:35 a.m. (Suggest removal)

This debate has been going on for nearly 30 years. If the BOS (Which mostly has been liberal) passed and funded monies for construction back then, we wouldn't be finding ourselves here today.

Every Sheriff since the early 80's and civil grand juries has been trying or attempting to get the BOS involved in this process. This debacle is a BOS nightmare. But, Sheriff Brown will attempt to use this "extra" money thing to his advantage during this election cycle.

While yes he has secured monies for construction the rest of the department is in shambles. Personnel within the sheriff's dept. are on mandatory overtime everyday of the week 24 hours of the day. It has been this way for several years. Deputies have been taken off the street and assigned to the jail leaving less deputies patrolling your neighborhoods.

Now comes the "Extra" $17 million a year for operation, come 2017 or sooner he or the next Sheriff needs to hire nearly 100 people to run this new facility. WHERE IS THAT MONEY GOING TO COME FROM, NEW OIL WELLS??? This out of touch or should I say touchy feely BOS want to give monies to pet projects or voting constituents only to get re-elected. Never mind the infrastructure of the county is falling apart.

The way I see it is Sheriff Brown wants his name on a building while his dept and personnel come second to his legacy. What a shame. The money is there to hire personnel but Brown thinks giving OT to people makes more sense especially during election cycles because he believes people want more money. Only problem is he is wearing his people out, families suffer and complaints go up.

Do we need a new jail, yes. Do the BOS and Sheriff have a responsibility to the taxpayers today with adequate deputies patrolling our streets? It's not happening today folks your being fooled into a false sense of security. All is not well within the walls of the sheriff's office. There is a reason most of his upper staff have retired. They see the writing on the wall and their input does not matter. Sheriff Brown is egotistical and a narcissist and one who believes if you talk like you know what your talking about you can fool the public.

Time for change at every level from the BOS to the Sheriff. Vote Sergeant Sandra Brown for Sheriff and who ever runs against these out of touch BOS incumbents and lets get these idiots out of office before they bankrupt us…..

Priceless (anonymous profile)
December 16, 2013 at 7:47 a.m. (Suggest removal)

BOS is going to have to decide if they want to maintain a bloated, inefficient staffing structure with massive benefits just to keep their union supporters happy, or an operational jail that keeps the rest of us safer.

Actually, voters will decide this by electing new county supervisors who are not just in-house shills for the county employee unions.

Sheriff's Office support for the city gang injunction would go a long way in saving after-the-fact gang crime costs, which probably cost the county $500,000 for each gang perp to get through the county criminal justice system.

Good to get some of those extra duty bailiffs during gang trials back on the streets protecting the rest of us, instead of shifting for each other in a downtown court room.

The waste of county funds on gang crime deserves far more attention and every effort should be made by the BOS to stop gang membership and activities in its tracks through out the county.

Three BOS members need to get out of the micro-managing weeds and step back and look at county priorities as a whole. And get back to basics, and off their ideological high horses. Giddiup.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
December 16, 2013 at 8:42 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Contrary to popular belief the "Union supporters" (I'm thinking you are talking about the deputy sheriff's union) has had little affect on "gang injections", "benefits" or "retirements".

I have followed numerous unions within the county employee departments. The biggest, most vocal and well financed union in the county is County Fire Local 2046. Every election cycle they pour 10's of thousands and even hundreds of thousands toward their bought and paid for BOS member. If you were to type in "SBC County fire local 2046 political contributions" into your search engine you would be amazed at how much they have given to SB County supervisors. Janet Wolf and Doreen Farr have received over a hundred thousand each.

Just look at this years BOS race. Who has the deputy sheriff's union endorsed for the 2nd district? Not Janet. Janet is not a friend of law enforcement. Oh sure she will tell you she supports public safety but that is only when she is grandstanding. She routinely dismisses LE budget requests for "Other" more partisan requests to fill political promises. What has she done to move toward filling county coffers to fund the new jail?? The biggest cash cow in the county is OIL!!! But what has she, Doreen and Salud done to this industry? Thrown them under the bus to keep enviromaniacs on their side. Enviromaniacs aren't going to pay the bills or our future obligations.

If you were also to look at what the BOS has given to County fire every budget cycle as a whole compared to all county departments you would see a trend by how much this union has benefited from its chosen board members. They are also the only union to receive raises while all other unions gave concessions. Just look at their windfall of benefits in their last contract negotiations. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out "Large contributions" equals great paydays…. But then again it takes individuals to do a little research and fact finding to figure it all out. The BOS and fire union surely will not tell you this.

The only reason I bring up another county department in regards to this "Jail issue" is because everybody knows we need a new jail funded. But when large contributions are made by a single union they are competing for the same pot of money needed to fulfill what the Sheriff, Civil Grand Jury's, Judges and others have said we've needed for 30 years. So when do our elected politicians put on their big boy / big girl pants and put priorities first???

Priceless (anonymous profile)
December 16, 2013 at 10:50 a.m. (Suggest removal)

1. County has revenue.

2. County has expenses.

3. Court system is a major county expense.

4. Gang crime runs up major court costs, which deplete county revenues.

5. Money spent on gang crime court cases would be available to spend somewhere else, if there were a gang injunction in every jurisdiction in the county preventing gang crime in the first place.

6. County budget is in no position to continue throwing money down a rat hole, waiting for gang crime to happen and then spending millions after the fact to put the gang bangers behind bars.

7. Sheer cost/benefit ratio demands a gang injunction now.

8. Gang injunctions work here and now. We cannot afford another year of business as usual allowing gang crime to devour so much of the county revenue.

9. Demand numbers that show how much gang crime is costing taxpayers in this county.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
December 16, 2013 at 4:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The gang injunction will cost millions with little effect on gang crime. It is an expensive feel good measure. Reference Oxnard's injunction.

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
December 16, 2013 at 6:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You have to prove your case, Hersshel, and you can't. Reference Oxnard's gang injunction as a success story.

Each gang banger crime costs the public $500,000 in police time, hospital costs, court costs and court-appointed attorney time. No wonder there is organized opposition to a gang injunction.

Some people don't want to lose their jobs sucking off the flush funds wasted on Gang inc.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
December 16, 2013 at 7:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Government rules the roost in this area and they will get what they want because the people will be suckered into supporting.

The $100,000,000,000 high-speed rail is still on the table, and various other ideas to spend money for the coming Utopia are floating around. The gang problem will get worse, and the way it will be dealt with is to spend more money, pass more laws, and do the same thing over and over again while expecting different results.

Compare the quality of life in this area today to that of 35 years ago and that might give you the overall idea.

Meanwhile,good luck.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
December 16, 2013 at 7:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Voters approved high speed rail. They have only themselves to blame thinking they were spending "other people's money". Voters approved all sorts of money sucking boondoggles and then walk away from the consequences.

Ever know what happened to the billions voters approved for "stem cell research"? Or the billions dedicated to the care of those with mental impairments? Or the billions dedicated to First Five pre-schools which have proven to be of no lasting benefit to students after all as they sink further into educational malpractice.

Why don't you ask Das Williams and Hannah-Beth Jackson to be accountable for those billions of voter approved expenditures.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
December 17, 2013 at 9:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)


There is NO accountability with any SB County left-wing politician. When their term is up they simply apply for the next political seat and the same representation continues. End of story...

Priceless (anonymous profile)
December 18, 2013 at 7:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The Law of Unintended Consequences for term-limits means politicians who created the messes, also get to leave the bills behind for someone else to pay while they walk away with no consequences and some tidy benefits of office.

City started going down a fiscal rat hole after Harriet Miller was mayor. Who on that city council team is now even still around to fix the messes they created?

Will Gregg Hart now given a second bite of the apple take responsibility for the growing $400,000 unfunded liabilities he helped create during those prior post-Harriet Miller go-go years of promise, spend and then depart before the bills are presented?

Will Gregg Hart ensure the city never gets into this level of fiscal incompetence again. Waning days of this current city council is spent throwing money around for their pet causes as if the city Urban Forest Czar actually found a way to grow money on trees.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
December 18, 2013 at 9:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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