WEATHER »

Return to Sender


The plan for a postcard-only mail policy at Santa Barbara Jail should be canceled.

Officials in the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s department should immediately call off their plan to start banning family members from writing letters to loved ones in jail. Limiting incoming correspondence to postcards only jeopardizes the kinds of community ties that are essential for keeping everyone safe.

My report, released by the Prison Policy Initiative, “Return to Sender: Postcard-only Policies in Jail,” finds that local jail bans on letters impede the reentry process and increase the chances that people will reoffend in the future. Such policies also present a significant burden to the disproportionately low-income families of people in jail.

All major corrections professional associations know that the social science research is clear: Communication between people in jail and their families and communities should be encouraged, not stifled. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s national standards explicitly prohibit postcard-only mail restrictions in facilities holding detainees. Officials in the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department have also been clear opponents of draconian postcard-only mail policies, recognizing that such restrictions are both counterproductive and harmful.

The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department should honor their commitment to public safety by canceling its postcard-only policy before it goes into effect on Monday and does real damage.

Leah Sakala is a policy analyst with the Prison Policy Initiative.

To submit a comment on this article, email letters@independent.com or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email tips@independent.com.



event calendar sponsored by:

Santa Barbara Priests Named in New Abuse Reports

Twelve men accused of child molestation served in area parishes.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Far Higher than Projected

The county misses its target by a whopping 29 percentage points.

Toasts and Roasts for Wolf and Hart

There will be a changing of the guard for the second supervisorial district.

ICE Detains Individual on Westside

Enforcement action on Wednesday morning questioned community members and picked up one person.

Rough Start for San Marcos Principal Search

Parents and board members are demanding more transparency from the district.