The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors will consider options for the renovation of the Santa Barbara County Main Jail, ranging in cost from $24.2 million to $67.1 million, during its meeting Tuesday.
Disability Rights California filed a class-action lawsuit after seeing the conditions at the jail and settled in 2020. The scope of the work exceeds the settlement requirements, the board letter says.
The jail complex, which was built in sections between 1960 and the early nineties, needs a large number of emergency repairs annually.
Renovations would include deferred capital work estimated at more than $14 million.
Option one proposes an additional $6.16 million for improvements to programming space, mental health area and cell improvements.
This option would take about four years to complete and would be paid through the general fund.
The Sheriff’s Office is seeing a declining jail population it attributes to diversion efforts. Additionally, a North County jail branch is scheduled to open by the end of the year.
Staff wouldn’t renovate portions it believes will be unused because of these changes, but Sheriff Bill Brown does not want to reduce the number of beds available.
Additional options consider a shifting inmate population.
Option two is the same as above but adds a broader assessment of long-term needs at the Main Jail. This option, recommended by County staff, is estimated at $24.9 million.
Option three shifts the county’s inmate population to North County with the construction of a Sheriff’s Treatment and Re-Entry facility at the Northern Branch Jail.
The Main Jail’s deferred maintenance would be scaled down for a smaller size, and some portions of the jail would close.
Option three is the most expensive, at $67.1 million.
Option four involves shutting down portions of the Main Jail and building a new facility in their place. The pre-existing buildings would be renovated, and the Northern Branch Jail would remain unaffected.
Option four costs $56.9 million to $60.3 million.
Supervisors will also receive an update on criminal justice projects, like a data dashboard.
The board will also look at the Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment, a 308-page informational document that projects changes in Santa Barbara County and highlights vulnerable populations.
Board of Supervisors information and the meeting agenda are available at countyofsb.org/bos.
The meeting will be streamed live at countyofsb.org/ceo/csbtv/livestream.sbc.
To participate, members of the public can attend the meeting in-person at the Joseph Centeno Betteravia Government Administration Building, 511 E Lakeside Parkway in Santa Maria, or online at countyofsb.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_M7PJaki2RyG8RTpOMQUFVQ.