A classroom at the North Branch Jail | Credit: Courtesy SB Sheriff's Office

Inmates in jails in Santa Barbara can partake in college courses again, according to a statement from Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Raquel Zick. The Sheriff’s Office is partnering with both Santa Barbara City College and Allan Hancock College to bring college-level classes to inmates at both the Main Jail and the newly opened North County Jail.

Resuming operations for the first time since the pandemic shut them down, Sheriff Bill Brown said in a report, “Quality education is one of the most effective forms of crime prevention.” Education improves public safety through enhancing inmates’ self-esteem and relationships, Brown said, and reduces the likelihood of reincarceration by increasing chances for career success after release.

A variety of classes are offered to incarcerated students. Those at the Santa Barbara County Main Jail can take ServSafe courses to prepare for food service industry jobs, GED Study courses in academic subjects, and Personal Development courses for career skills.

At the Northern Branch Jail, incarcerated people are provided with courses for life and career preparation, including Business Résumé Writing, Introduction to Human Services, and Cooperative Work Experience, which offers experience in on-the-job learning environments. 

The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office also plans to work with community organizations to create learning opportunities in a wider array of topics for incarcerated students.

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