<b>Red Roofs:</b>  Sheriff Bill Brown presented supervisors with artists’ renderings of the new jail designed with a mission theme.

Red Roofs: Sheriff Bill Brown presented supervisors with artists’ renderings of the new jail designed with a mission theme.

Big Plans for the Big House

Proposed Jail Currently Designed in Mission Theme

Thursday, April 17, 2014
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Sheriff Bill Brown provided the supervisors with a visual and verbal view of the planned North County Jail on Tuesday, replete with projections for the facility’s design, staffing levels, and construction plans. Brown said the process is on time and on budget, with $80 million in state money set aside for construction and a revenue-growth-reliant plan to pay for the $15.8 million in operating costs ​— ​slightly less than originally assumed ​— ​but ended his presentation by acknowledging the threat that Measure M could pose.

Brown started with the building’s design, which is meant to replicate California’s missions, as “missions were places of respite for weary travelers, but they were also places that facilitated redemption and revitalization for people.” At 140,000 square feet, the facility ​— ​slated to open in early 2018 at the intersection of Betteravia and Black roads in Santa Maria ​— ​will offer 376 beds with potential to expand to 1,500. Brown, calling the Main Jail “Santa Barbara’s version of the Winchester Mystery House” with its varied designs and infrastructure, said the new facility will offer housing units better-suited to supervision and self-containment, each with their own rooms for video visitation and medical exams.

Sheriff Bill Brown
Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman

Sheriff Bill Brown

Seventy-three custody deputies will be hired ​— ​all hires will be staggered over four stages starting this August ​— ​but only one deputy on average will be responsible for supervising 32-64 inmates. Brown said that ratio was standard, but Supervisor Doreen Farr took issue with it. “Wow. I just have to tell you, I wouldn’t want to be responsible for 64 people for four hours at a church picnic,” she said.

Tuesday’s discussion didn’t include details on the additional 228-bed, 52,000-square-foot recidivism-reducing wing, the construction of which will be paid for with a $39 million state grant and 10 percent match from the county; details on that wing are expected this summer.

Talk of the jail’s operating costs veered ​— ​as it has for most meetings recently ​— ​to Measure M, which the board also discussed later in the day. Championed by Supervisor Peter Adam, the ordinance would require anywhere from $17 million-$39 million per year (more than originally thought) to maintain county-owned roads, parks, and buildings. “I would categorize it as the right idea but the wrong approach,” Brown said Tuesday. Without new revenue sources, grants, or a savings plan similar to that for the jail, the measure’s passage could mean cuts to public safety, officials have said.

Earlier this month, donations poured in against the ordinance from the county’s Deputy Sheriff’s Association ($20,000), the county’s Firefighters Government Committee ($10,000), the Santa Ynez Band of Mission Indians ($25,000), and Service Employees International Union Local 620 ($5,000). Supporters have included the Montecito-based Neighborhood Defense League ($30,000), Santa Maria Energy ($10,000), and CalPortland ($7,500), a construction company with locations all over the western United States including in Santa Maria, Lompoc, and Solvang.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

"Brown said the process is on time and on budget, with $80 million in state money set aside for construction and a revenue-growth-reliant plan to pay for the $15.8 million in operating costs ​— " The number changes with the wind..

Now that's funny!!! He can't even tell the BOS how much it is going to cost the taxpayers per year and our Heads up a$$ BOS members won't even ask for the true costs!!

Another brain surgeon as a BOS member said,

"Supervisor Doreen Farr took issue with it. “Wow. I just have to tell you, I wouldn’t want to be responsible for 64 people for four hours at a church picnic,” she said."

Someone should tell Doreen she is a Supervisor responsible for over 100,000 people in her district. What a tool……...

Priceless (anonymous profile)
April 17, 2014 at 7:18 a.m. (Suggest removal)

$80 Million for a new, "mission-themed" jail? Uh, perhaps the sheriff should visit Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona. He puts convicts in tents in the desert wearing pink undies, and has 'em working for their meals of slop.

Sheriff Joe's recidivism rate is much better than elsewhere in country, where prisoners get fancy digs, weight rooms and law libraries, which they use to sue their victims. This instead of an "additional 228-bed, 52,000-square-foot recidivism-reducing wing". Gimme a break!

dslproductions (anonymous profile)
April 17, 2014 at 8:55 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"Proposed jail currently designed in Mission theme" sounds like a headline from The Onion. This article is just too good. Missions were "places that facilitated redemption and revitalization for people"? Ok maybe, for someone sometimes. But for sure they were places that locked up people and flogged them for disobedience or trying to leave. So, yeah, the Mission theme is good. -Nitz's wife

Nitz (anonymous profile)
April 17, 2014 at 9:47 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Californias missions were nothing more that concentration camps for native indians tribes that were kidnapped and "civilized" its disgusting to think that anyone could ever think that the "missions" in california brought anything more than pain and misery and a loss of culture to all the indians that were interned there.

audidriver2010 (anonymous profile)
April 17, 2014 at 10:25 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Gosh with all these new jails I guess we are going to have to think up new things to arrest people for.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
April 17, 2014 at 10:59 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The "promoters" for the jailers must be top notch!. Here it is happening, and there'll be no stopping it. Do you think this incalculable amount of money could be used in a way that might help young people turn to a productive life. How in the world can we possibly trust these people!

Are there really so many individuals who need "punishment"??

This is a deceptively lovely design but residents will get to see concrete floors and steel bars. The motivation for this is not what it might appear on the surface.

This is a multi-million dollar joke. And it's on us.

Get your guns; now we can go antagonize more young people. Teach them to hate society.... keeps us in business.

jazzifier (anonymous profile)
April 17, 2014 at 11:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

“There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws"

ayn rand

audidriver2010 (anonymous profile)
April 17, 2014 at 11:35 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"Three Felonies A Day

The average professional in this country wakes up in the morning, goes to work, comes home, eats dinner, and then goes to sleep, unaware that he or she has likely committed several federal crimes that day. Why? The answer lies in the very nature of modern federal criminal laws, which have exploded in number but also become impossibly broad and vague. In Three Felonies a Day, Harvey A. Silverglate reveals how federal criminal laws have become dangerously disconnected from the English common law tradition and how prosecutors can pin arguable federal crimes on any one of us, for even the most seemingly innocuous behavior."

loonpt (anonymous profile)
April 17, 2014 at noon (Suggest removal)

20-40% of any jail/prison population has significant mental illness issues. These people do not belong in jail because !. It is substantially more expensive to care for them there ($20K a year or so); 2. They do not get better in a penal setting; 3. The jail is not trained nor sympathetic to the idea of medical care; 4. The jail will not spend money on effective psychotropic medicine; 5. Jail stays are finite and set by issues other than psychological care and progress and are therefore mental health care in the jail is seldom more than a buffer. Building another regressive social system for more money with worse health results is only valuable to the folks who make good money from staffing it and those who get elected by engendering more fear. Next week ADMHS will present another incomplete and inadequate plan to the BOS for providing mental health services in SB County but as bad as that plan is it is better than building 1000 bed jails. Please contact the Board of Supervisors and let them know you support removing a significant and non-threatenting portion of the jail population and p lacing them in residential and other facilities that will make them healthier and save us all huge money.

RHS (anonymous profile)
April 17, 2014 at 1:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It's a jail, not a tourist attraction!

Before a person makes it to this jail they likely would have made use of all the rehab, half-way house(s) and soul searching facilities available to those convicted of crime. They didn't take advantage of the "redemption and revitalization" opportunities and is likely why they are sent to jai/prison. So, why go to the unnecessary expense in an attempt at style? Why not build a large tent area to immediately move & house any group that creates a problem, might be a way to keep everyone in line. Anyone in a group that screws up the entire group gets moved into tents! Style is not needed and is an unnecessary expense in constructing a jail facility.

whatsinsb (anonymous profile)
April 17, 2014 at 1:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

whatsinsb, you speak out of apparent ignorance, so don't flaunt it. SBCOJ is regularly filled beyond capacity with marijuana violators, people who dare to drive without a license, people who dare to "resist" by asking WTF are you stopping me here on the sidewalk?, who don't have proof of residence ID, who take a nap in a city park, by shoplifters, by those who dare to defend themselves from random drunken assault...and the list of "hardened" criminal offenses goes on, none of whom are candidates for "redemption and revitalization" opportunities (the very notion of which is a joke coming out of Bill Brown's mouth).
Have you ever been inside SBCOJ? It's an experience in draconian brutality, widely considered among California Custody workers as the worst jail in the state, with the highest inmate death rate in the 11 western states, an operation run by an undersheriff who avoided prosecution for sexually harrassing female staff by summarily resigning (gotta protect that pension too!), and overseen by a sheriff who is more concerned about getting a "Mission style" edifice built with his name on the brass plaque out front.
$80 million? Those funds should be spent on mental health facilities and upon ongoing microscopic oversight of everything local law enforcement does.

Beachgirl77 (anonymous profile)
April 17, 2014 at 6:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@Beachgirl77 -I couldn't have said it better myself. This is all about Brown. I know from personal experience that your description of what it's like in the County jail - the brutality, the abuse, the demeaning of the mentally ill, guards who have disdain for the inmates, regardless if they had just murdered their mother or got busted for a joint.

This is interesting, and explains, at least in part, why the Deputy Sheriff's Association supports this make-work program.


Let's see - 73 corrections officers @ $61K per employee, plus 25% benefits = about $5.6 Million in just salaries and benefits for the new jail. If $15 million is the latest estimate, then there is a lot of additional overhead, and we know it isn't the food.

Bill Brown seems to me to be an ego-driven zealot who flies in the face of conventional wisdom about incarceration.

BOS - Take the money and put it into prevention, support, rehab, supportive housing, and other PROACTIVE measures designed to decriminalize and care for the mentally ill and minor non-violent offenders, thus freeing up space in the existing jail, and allowing some staff REDUCTIONS. Take some of that money and upgrade the deplorable conditions here, so that criminals are at least treated humanely. We don't need a new "Mission-style" jail.

Gandalf47 (anonymous profile)
April 17, 2014 at 7:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

We don't need a new "Mission-style" jail.

Gandalf47 (anonymous profile)
April 17, 2014 at 7:54 p.m.

Why not?'s in keeping with the old tradition of when the Spanish came in and imprisoned the Chumash.

I want to take this a step further and channel my inner interior decorator What I'd like to see is a nice little atrium in the jail, and skylights in the cells. Let's neaten things up and plant some birds of paradise and hire--no wait--use inmates to keep up the nice little garden. I'm thinking a nice little WI-FI system for the visitors would be cool. Nice blue sterile (5000K) CFL bulbs would be cool and eco-friendly. The kitchen should be stainless steel and granite countertops, and a nice pyramid-shaped arraingment of pictures in the main greeting room should consist of the President Of The United States on top, with the Attorney General and head of Homland Security below him/her, then followed by various law enforcement officials from Federal, to State, to local! Then let's have some "re-education" centers consisting of huts and bungalows around the main building. Let's make sure to get it right this time and build the jail really big because clearly with our bright and sunny future, we will need the prison cells.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
April 17, 2014 at 8:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

(Continued from previous post)

I think that terra-cotta statues of Californian governors from the first governor to the present (Two figures of Jerry Brown--one from his first term when he had a full head of hair--to the present bald look would be in order) should be posted around the building.

We could also have nice statues in the courtyard of the jail such as the iconic statue in Brussels, Belgium, Le Manneken Pis ( and in keeping with the oenophile (wine) culture in full swing, a statue of Bacchus standing next to the little micturating boy in bronze would be a complimentary touch, as well as a way to make those in jail for DUI charges feel more at home. Additionally, it would acculaturate those in the prison--who we would call "Facility Residents"--not "prisoners"--to the quality things.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
April 17, 2014 at 9:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I think the two statues together is a good idea. After all, when you drink alot, at least a lotta beer, you have to pee a lot. That reminds me of a joke, "why does beer go through you so quicK?....because it doesnt have to change color"

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
April 17, 2014 at 9:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

One final thought: Since Lompoc is so well for growing flowers, they could line up the towers where the armed guards are stationed with flowers and call them "Flower towers". If the guards are inclined to yell obscenities, they could call them "Turrets of Tourettes' ".

billclausen (anonymous profile)
April 17, 2014 at 9:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

billclausen you'r more full of bull poo poo than a holding stall at a rodeo.

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
April 18, 2014 at 4:41 a.m. (Suggest removal)

very expensive affordable housing.

native2sb (anonymous profile)
April 18, 2014 at 12:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)


you think that is expensive have you heard they are giving yoga classes in jail???

I just heard this today!!!!! You might want to ask the Sheriff Bill Brown about this one….

Priceless (anonymous profile)
April 18, 2014 at 9:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yay to yoga classes in jail. The emphasis should be on rehabilitation, for many if not most are. Surely you would rather pay an extra ten cents than have a repeat offender Pricelss, yeah? Let's neither be vindictive, penny wise and piund foolish nor take an opportunity to potentially make a positive impact on someone's lives that also benefits society as a whole.
I don't think you're a stupid or even a mean person Priceless; so let's all look beyond the immediate; not looking beyond the immediate is what got a lot of those people in jail to begin with.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 18, 2014 at 9:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Beachgirl77 - As I said, funds should not be expended to make the county jail look like a tourist attraction, "Mission style" as you state. I agree, the jail is filled with what would be considered "minor violators." Who do you know that has been arrested for asking a cop "WTF are you stopping me here on the sidewalk" or "don't have proof of residence ID?" I don't know of any code that would warrant such arrest(s) and I suspect they are simply a figment of your imagination. As the 'ol saying goes, if you don't want to do the time - forget about doing anything that is a violation of law. Don't commit any infraction, misdemeanor or felony and you won't have the possibility of ending up in any jail. Don't whine about people you believe are being mistreated, step up and take steps necessary to change what you perceive is wrong.

The way I read your rant it is my opinion you are likely in need of some of the treatment that could be provided if some or all of the $80 million were spent, as you suggest, on mental health facilities.

When you mention "California Custody workers" I suspect you mean Corrections Officers. You are wrong in stating SBCO Jail is the "worst jail in the state." An article in "The Economist," May 19, 2012 identifies the Los Angeles County Men's Central Jail as the worst county jail in our state. Their report is two years old and our county jail may not be the best to live in but I have never heard that SBCO Jail was the worst in our state. Where do you get your facts? Please cite the report that shows SBCO Jail has the "highest inmate death rate in the 11 western states."

Of "America's 10 Worst Prisons" cited in Wikipedia the only prison listed in CA is Pelican Bay (#6). Do you know there is a difference between a prison and a county jail?

You might want to review a Bureau of Statistics Special Report (2005), Suicide & Homicide in State Prisons and local jails. Or, for the most recent data on inmate deaths check http://www.ojp.usdoj./gov/bjs/glance/.... I did a brief review of this material and find nothing to support your statement relative to the death rate. No doubt there are other studies/reports but I have not taken the time to research them. Please cite the reports that substantiate you comments about the death rate in the SBCO Jail.

whatsinsb (anonymous profile)
April 19, 2014 at 8:08 a.m. (Suggest removal)

KV, was talking about how much man power does it take to put a class together with convicted felons in jail to protect the Yoga instructor. I really don't see a benefit to this. Just my humbled opinion….

Priceless (anonymous profile)
April 20, 2014 at 8:23 a.m. (Suggest removal)

If they were that immediately dangerous I'm surprised if they'd be in any group activity... but you're right I didn't consider the potential fringe costs.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 20, 2014 at 8:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"The number of pre-trial detainees varies dramatically from county to county based on mental health condition and economic status, says Patrick Boyd, who recently retired as San Francisco’s chief probation officer. “What drives the arrest and bookings? It’s often mental health issues, drug and alcohol citations, and homelessness,” says Boyd, who also worked as a probation manger in Santa Barbara. “To what extent would good, solid treatment programs help alleviate that so you don’t have the arrest in the first place?”

The county’s medical and mental health budget has been severely cut back over the years. A number of Santa Barbara County Grand Jury reports outline a need for acute-care beds and outpatient residential treatment. In order to reduce the jail population, the county needs to add mental health beds and treatment programs as well as reform the bail policy so poor people don’t sit in jail, says Sanger.

“Locking up people is archaic,” he says. “An effective probation is much more beneficial to the individual and society so people don’t end up in prison, where they learn to be better criminals.”

Georgy (anonymous profile)
April 21, 2014 at 11:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"...places that facilitated redemption and revitalization for people.” Oh, spare me. It's a jail, not a spa.

And no, I don't think making one custody deputy responsible for 64 inmates is a good idea, either.

LegendaryYeti (anonymous profile)
April 21, 2014 at 12:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@whatsinsb - Your assertion that "Before a person makes it to this jail they likely would have made use of all the rehab, half-way house(s) and soul searching facilities available to those convicted of crime. They didn't take advantage of the "redemption and revitalization" opportunities and is likely why they are sent to jai/prison". Had you not used the qualifier, "likely", I would have accused you of having had a proctological procedure in which you derived this information, as flawed as it is. The truth is (and I speak from first-hand experience over many, many years) that, due to the multiple and draconian Mental Health cutbacks to the County in recent decades, and the fact that the PHF (the facility for the MOST ACUTE psychiatric cases in the County) is ONLY SIXTEEN BEDS , and has been "forever" (what's the new jail - 356 beds, with the capacity to expand to 1,500?) To make matters worse, it is only licensed for patients who are 18 years and older, so any kids with psychiatric problems (and there are lots) must be transferred to Ventura or further away to contracted (more expensive and less effective) for-profit hospitals, or into the juvenile justice system.

Since there are not enough locked psychiatric beds available at any given time, where is the only other locked place available? Jail. A schizophrenic acting out in a violent manner does not belong in jail, or if so, in a mental health wing with competent mental health professionals supervising his/her patient care within the jail setting. If a patient broke their leg, they would get the necessary medical care while incarcerated. Not so with the mentally ill, who are treated like criminals and circulate in and of the system, usually due to lack of treatment, housing, and resources.

So know of what you speak before you speak it, for you might be perceived as uninformed or, worse still, ignorant.

Gandalf47 (anonymous profile)
April 21, 2014 at 6:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I like clausens ideas and would add some more things to the jail like a giant golden lamé slipper (about the size of a small car) out by the fountain, an aquarium with guppies, neon tetras, and swordfish in the waiting room as a calming device for nervous visitors, an auditorium where prisoners can rehearse for reality shows, (having a reality show called "Life in the Greybar Hotel"hosted by Sheriff's spokesperson Kelly Hoover could generate lots of money for the ever-increasing prison system) and finally, a big sign in the front of the jail, in keeping with paying homage to the Spaniards, with the words "La jaula de oro" (The gilded cage) which would be the official name of the new jail.

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
April 21, 2014 at 10:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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