The declining inmate population at Santa Barbara County jails was discussed Tuesday at the Board of Supervisors meeting.
The decrease started during the pandemic.
On Tuesday, supervisors heard long-term projections for the jails, located in Santa Barbara and near Santa Maria.
The projections indicate returning to pre-pandemic levels for prison populations within the next three years. Projections indicate about 800 to 900 inmates in county jails through 2029.
Currently there are 791 inmates in the jails, Sheriff Bill Brown said at Tuesday’s meeting.
The board voted unanimously Tuesday in accordance with staff recommendations to file reports on criminal justice improvement efforts and to file a report by MW Consulting on SB County Criminal Justice Overview and Jail Protections.
Sheriff Brown spoke about reducing the number of inmates. He pointed out that fewer inmates does not mean less money is being spent. He said reducing incarceration rates means spending the same amount of money if not more.
He explained the difference is that the money may be spent in different ways.