Main Jail


The Main Jail, located at 259 Water Street in Santa Cruz, is Santa Cruz County’s only detention facility providing maximum security units. The jail opened in 1981, with a newer wing added in the late 1980s. The State has rated this facility as a Class II detention facility for detaining those pending arraignment, being tried, and serving a sentence. The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office Detention Bureau administers and oversees the Main Jail.

California Civil Code, Title 24, sets forth minimum facility standards for the Main Jail, while Title 15 establishes minimum inmate care standards. Every two years, the state’s Corrections Standards Authority (CSA) inspects the jail and the fire marshal performs a fire and safety inspection. Also the county environmental health officer must do an annual evaluation. All three of these inspections were completed in 2007.

On September 19, 2007, five members of the Grand Jury visited the Main Jail, and nine jurors visited on September 26. Jurors made subsequent visits and conducted interviews from October 2007 through April 2008. These visits included touring the facility, reviewing policies and supporting documentation, and interviewing staff and inmates. Some of the Grand Jury members toured the Santa Cruz Consolidated Emergency Communications Center (Net Com). To more fully understand the arrest and booking procedures other Grand Jury members participated in the ride-along program with the county sheriff, the Santa Cruz and Watsonville City Police Departments and the California Highway Patrol.

The Grand Jury investigated the following: booking, staffing, operations, inmate services, medical services, overcrowding, classification, and discipline.



1.      Santa Cruz County governmental agencies (with the exception of Scotts Valley) have joint powers agreements with Net Com specifying how emergency calls are routed for fire, police and medical assistance. Net Com then routes calls to the appropriate authorities for response.

2.      Net Com assigns emergency calls a priority rating from one to nine, one requiring the most urgent response. The calls rating and the case details are reflected on the mobile data terminal in all squad cars.

3.      The County’s only booking facility is at the Main Jail in Santa Cruz so all law enforcement officers must transport arrestees there. Approximately 13,000 persons are booked at the Main Jail each year. This often results in overcrowding in the booking area and delays for the law enforcement officers. The officers must wait and cannot return to other duties until the arrestee has been processed through the system.

4.      Intake process:

·        All squad cars and persons are monitored via video surveillance as they enter the vehicle sally port (an enclosed area secured by locked doors at each end, only one of which can be opened at any one time).

·        Officers then lead suspects through a pedestrian sally port and into the booking area.

·        Officers of the same gender pat down the suspects and complete the suspects’ health intake questionnaires.

·        For medical reasons, the facility nurse may refuse suspects admittance to the jail. If refused admittance, they are taken directly to Dominican Hospital. Upon receiving medical clearance from the hospital, suspects are taken back to the Main Jail to complete the booking process.

·        An audio and video recording is made of the booking and kept in storage for a period of two years.

5.      After walking through a metal detector, suspects are put into a group holding cell. Special needs arrestees and women are kept in separate cells. Intoxicated arrestees are put into the jail’s “drunk tank” for a minimum of five hours. If intoxication prevents them from standing or communicating coherently, they are taken to a local medical emergency room for detox. A violent arrestee is placed in a restraint chair in a private safety cell with two large viewing panels and checked every 15 minutes.

6.      At the start of the booking process all personal property, except one shirt, a pair of pants, underwear, and socks, is taken from the detainee, labeled and stored either in the jail’s property room or a valuables locker. These items are returned when the inmate is released.

7.      During the booking process, a pretrial probation officer reviews each suspect’s charges to determine if there was probable cause for arrest. The suspect’s prints are then run through a touch fingerprint system, which has a record of over 300,000 people arrested in Santa Cruz County. These prints are also checked with the State Department of Justice.

8.      After booking, suspects can be released if charged with minor crimes and, if allowed , they can post bail. The pretrial Probation Officer calls the “on call” judge, who makes the decision whether the suspect is eligible to be released. Individuals unable to post bail, or not eligible for release, are housed in a pre-classification unit. Their picture is taken and all tattoos are photographed.

9.      Newly housed inmates can shower and must change into jail-issue clothes. Personal clothing is labeled and stored with the rest of the inmate’s property. Money in the possession of the suspect at the time of arrest is posted as a credit to a personal jail account.

10.  Each inmate is issued a kit, which includes clothing, bedding, utensils, and hygiene items.

11.  Prior to admittance, a nurse performs a medical review of each inmate, including taking vital signs. A doctor is on call if needed.

12.  In March 2008 the Sheriff’s office implemented a new fingerprint picture system called the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS). This system includes photographs, palm print and fingerprints of a suspect. The AFIS system provides positive identification of a suspect throughout the intake process and interfaces with the state mug shot system. In the near future a pilot project will be implemented making AFIS available to law enforcement officers on squad car monitors.

13.  Those arrested for drug or weapons offenses, or suspected of hiding drugs or weapons, may require body inspection. This procedure – a visual, non-contact search must be approved by a supervisor and performed by a correctional officer of the same gender. For this type of inspection, the Sheriff’s Office recently constructed a separate room to ensure privacy. Those refusing to cooperate are x-rayed. If x-rays reveal contraband, approval is then secured through a court order and the person is taken to Dominican Hospital for removal of the contraband.

14.  After voters approved Proposition 69 in November 2004, the Sheriff’s Office implemented a new procedure requiring all convicted felons to submit a DNA sample. A cheek swab sample from offenders is sent to the Department of Justice for processing and inclusion in the State database.


15.  Thirteen to 15 correctional officers staff 12-hour shifts, four days a week. All shifts include Spanish-speaking and female correctional officers.

16.  The state’s Corrections Standards Authority 2007 report indicated that additional staff positions would be advantageous to institutional security. Shift supervisors routinely check to ensure rounds are being done, but the large number of inmates delays some activities, such as searching individual cells.

17.  Currently, the Main Jail has 12 staff positions that have not been filled. Recruiting is under way for the seven positions for which funding has been allocated. Funding has not been yet been approved for the remaining five positions. All correctional officers working at the jail must attend 24 hours of the Standards and Training class per year.

18.  Two correctional officers are located in the central control area during the 12-hour day shift, and one during the night shift. These officers monitor all ten video surveillance cameras located both inside and outside the facility. They also grant access through video surveillance and remote control to all the locked entry points inside and outside the facility. These staff positions are rotated among the correctional officers. Previous Grand Juries recommended this video surveillance be recorded. To date, this recommendation has not been implemented.

19.  A Correctional Emergency Response Team (CERT) was created in 2005. This team of 16 volunteer officers has received training in procedures that keep a facility safe and secure for staff and inmates. The CERT team can respond to emergencies in any of the county’s detention facilities, dealing with difficult inmates and quelling violent inmate incidents.

20.  The entire corrections staff was retrained in the use of the X26 Taser in the fall of 2006 following the death of an inmate who had been subdued by a Taser while in custody. The Sheriff’s Office officially responded to this incident by stating, “The Forensic Pathologist’s cause of death for that inmate did not include the Taser Device as causing death.” Tasers were reintroduced to the jail in October 2006.


21.  The Main Jail houses inmates in various detention situations including those

22.  Approximately 75 percent of inmates are repeat offenders. On September 26, 2007, the jail population was 344, and 65 percent of these inmates were not yet sentenced. Fifty-two percent of inmates were White, 40 percent Hispanic, and six percent Black. The average inmate age was 33 years. The state-rated capacity for the Main Jail is 311.

23.  Inmate housing is separated into the North, South and West wings, each containing several units separating inmates according to their classification.

The type of inmates held in each housing unit periodically changes depending on the gender, number and classification of inmates being held at any given time.

24.  The Main Jail holds members of various gangs, including White power, Hispanic (Norteños and Sureños), and Black (Bloods and Crips). Members of competing gangs may be housed in separate units, each with its own recreation room and exercise yard. If gang members sign behavioral contracts pledging to get along with all inmates regardless of gang affiliation, they can be housed with the general population. Inmates with psychological problems, sex offenders and those who are violent are segregated from the rest of the population and housed in a special needs unit. Their meals are served separately to eliminate contact with other inmates. Jail inmates come into contact with inmates from the other units only during travel to and from court.

25.  According to Titles 15 and 24, inmates must have individual cells, a group day room, and a group patio area. Title 24 requires 35 square feet of floor space per inmate in the dayrooms and tables and seating to accommodate the maximum number of inmates allowed at any given time. Due to the overcrowding at the facility, these requirements cannot always be met.

26.  Showers and bathrooms are located in each of the units. The 2005 State report indicated many of the bathroom and shower areas were “filthy, as are the majority of the cells, which are cluttered with paper and leftover food from meals.” In 2006, the Sheriff’s Office spent $99,000 on remodeling and mildew removal in one of the shower facilities at the Main Jail. The 2007 State Inspection report indicated shower areas and individual cells were in compliance with Title 24 standards. However, County Environmental Health Services completed an annual evaluation in 2007, and the jail was granted an environmental health clearance with the exception of the shower areas, which the report indicated are still in need of repair. In November 2007, two female jurors on an unscheduled visit to one of the women’s housing units inspected H unit shower area, the community bathroom and an inmate cell. These areas were found to be clean and in good condition. In December 2007, two male jurors on an unscheduled visit inspected the men’s housing units E, F and Q and found the shower, toilet areas and the individual cells clean but not tidy. In March 2007, two female jurors on an unscheduled visit inspected the G unit shower area. They found it to be badly in need of repair with toilet paper stuffed around the shower head, and the entire shower and the walls in the adjacent dressing room area covered with water. Mold and the smell of mildew were also present. Inmates have complained that some of the shower areas have small flies that swarm inside the shower and bugs that come up from the drain.

27.  Each inmate is responsible for the cleanliness of his/her housing area including the showers. Floors must be swept and mopped daily. All inmate privileges are withheld until the housing area is clean. This is a non-directed activity. Correctional officers provide each unit with a mop, bucket with water and cleanser on a daily basis (or more often if requested) to clean the floors and shower areas. Periodically a stronger disinfectant is provided to alleviate bacterial growth in the shower areas.

28.  The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC) is aging and outdated and does not provide consistent heating and cooling throughout the facility. Some areas of the jail are very cold while others are too warm. Maintaining the HVAC system is the responsibility of the General Services Department (GSD). Its response to the Sheriff Office concerns has been slow, repairs take too long, and, to date, the problems have not been corrected.

29.  Many inmates have filed Inmate Request Forms (green slips) about being too cold or too hot. No sweaters are allowed in the jail. Two thin cotton blankets are allowed in the summer and three in the winter. Additional blankets must be requested via a green slip. Correctional officers determine if an additional blanket will be issued. It is rare for an inmate to receive more than the allotted number of blankets. According to inmates, correctional officers confiscate any additional blankets they find.

30.  As a result of the fire marshal 2007 inspection, the facility was granted a fire and life safety clearance.

31.  While there are no outside windows in the inmate housing units, the front of each has windows facing a central area where the correctional officers are located. The central command area has dimmed red lighting so the officers can see into each of the well-lighted housing units. Food trays and medicine are dispensed from this central area through openings in the main door of each unit. This type of detention facility in which no correctional officers are located within the inmate housing areas is called a “podular design” system. Such a configuration contrasts with a direct supervision detention facility in which the correctional officers are located directly in the inmate housing areas.

32.  In 2005, a computerized program was established to monitor inmate classification, housing movements and disciplinary actions. The Sheriff’s Office Detention Bureau hopes to replace that system with a comprehensive jail management system in the next two years that will integrate the current classification system with medical, commissary, food, and inmate records management (currently located across the street in the county building). To date no funding has been secured for this project.

33.  Department 11 of the Santa Cruz Superior Court handles the drug cases and is now located at the Main Jail. Fifty to 100 inmates are taken from their cells to court each week in shackles and chains. Having drug court located at the Main Jail has eliminated the need for transport to the county court house on Ocean Street and has facilitated a more efficient handling of drug cases.

34.  Policies and procedures are in place to ensure the facility’s security, but it is an ongoing concern for the staff. Last year, two inmates attempted unsuccessfully to escape.

Inmate Services

35.  Inmates may see visitors in one of the five visiting rooms during visiting hours. All visits are audio recorded. Inmates and visitors are separated by a wire and plexiglass barrier. Inmates must complete a visitor request form before any visits will be allowed. Staff must pre-approve all visitors before they are scheduled. The inmate’s visitor lists can be updated only once every 30 days from the date the original list was completed.

36.  Professional interview rooms are available 24 hours a day for the inmates and their attorneys or the clergy. To preserve client confidentiality, no recordings are made in these rooms.

37.  Each of the housing units has a secure outdoor area for basketball, handball and exercise. Board games, cards and puzzles are also available. Newly released movies are rented from Swank distribution for monthly movie viewing.

38.  Other services available include television (both Spanish and English from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.) and a limited selection of paperback books. Inmates may purchase any book or periodical accepted for distribution by the U.S. Post Office. A law library is available to provide legal research assistance for inmates and UCSC Women’s Center Inside-Out offers writing workshops.

39.  Inmates are served three meals per day (at 6:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.). A maximum of 30 minutes is allowed for consumption and/or disposal of a meal. The county nutritionist plans the meals according to the standards set forth in the California Code of Regulations. The inmates receive a total of 2,600 calories a day according to Title 15 standards. The kitchen area was originally built to serve 90 inmates. The kitchen passed the 2007 State Standards review even though it is outdated and extremely small for the current jail population.

40.  Once a week, inmates have access to a commissary. They may purchase from a pre-approved list of items, such as snacks, canvas shoes, nail clippers, cosmetic items. Inmates must use money placed in their individual accounts to purchase commissary items. Upon their request, inmates with less than $3 in their accounts may be given the following items once each week: six sheets of paper, two stamped envelopes, two shampoo packets, a pencil, a toothbrush, toothpaste, and a comb.

41.  Friends Outside, a program provided by Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County, helps maintain outside contacts, and assists inmates in conducting basic and necessary transactions, such as banking and paying bills. They also provide reading glasses.

42.  The jail chaplain provides religious services while several local churches of numerous denominations provide Bible studies, communion services and prayer groups.

43.  Drug counseling is provided by Alto and Janus of Santa Cruz. Programs are also offered by Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Dual Diagnosis Group, and Criminal Gangs Anonymous.

44.  Inmates qualified to vote may request voting material from the Elections Department. Corrections personnel deliver material to the election department for the inmates.

45.  Inmates may mail and receive letters daily. They must pay their own postage, the exception being indigent inmates who may mail letters free to an attorney, a judge, a court, a doctor, or one personal correspondent per week. All incoming mail is opened and checked for contraband. Mail deemed inappropriate is not delivered to inmates. Inappropriate materials could include: scented mail, glitter, powdery substances, and pornographic pictures.

46.  For all phone calls inmates must either call collect or use a phone card purchased through the commissary. All inmates may order telephone time once a week unless that privilege is withheld for disciplinary reasons. All calls are recorded and may be monitored.

47.  Lights are out at 11:00 p.m. seven days a week.

48.  A video of the Main Jail rules and what is expected of an inmate is shown every day from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on the TVs located in the day rooms of each housing unit. The video is shown in both English and Spanish.

49.  If inmates feel they have been treated unfairly, they may file a grievance using an Inmate Request Form (green slip). Grievances may relate to any confinement condition, including medical care, classification actions, disciplinary actions, program participation, telephone privileges, mail, visiting procedures, food, clothing and bedding. Inmates may file one green slip per issue. Once corrections personnel rule on an issue, inmates cannot file another grievance on the same matter. Grievances regarding television availability or programming are not accepted.

Medical Services

50.  The Board of Supervisors recently approved transferring part of the Main Jail’s detention medical program from the County Health Services Agency (HSA) to the Sheriff’s Office. This change will occur over several years. In the past all medical and psychiatric care was provided by medical professionals under the auspices of the HSA.

51.  The jail facility includes a specially designed medical and psychiatric unit for the care of the inmates. The Main Jail infirmary currently has two exam rooms.

52.  The Main Jail now has a full-time medical director. This position was recently changed from 16 hours per week to full-time. The doctor is also available on call as needed. Every inmate admitted to the jail for 14 days or longer is examined by the staff doctor.

53.  Title 15 requires a minimum number of medical staff to be on duty for each shift. Substitute nurses fill in when full-time staff take vacation. It has been difficult to recruit substitutes because they receive lower wages and no benefits. Nurses lose accrued vacation time because of substitute shortages.

54.  Currently the Main Jail employs three registered nurses during the day, two in the evening and one at night. A nurse practitioner works 20 hours per week and is on call when off duty. All these positions are currently filled. Gynecological services are provided 2 to 3 hours once a week.

55.  Every morning, the Crisis Intervention Team meets to review risk management problems and any new admits in the last 24 hours. The team consists of medical and mental health staff, lieutenants, sergeants, and booking staff.

56.  Currently the medical staff provides services for HIV, hepatitis, prenatal care, lacerations, pain management, gynecological and internal medicine. If an injury is minor, the medical staff can provide the necessary care. Inmates with serious injuries are transported to Dominican Hospital. The jail has no X-ray services; inmates are sent to outside medical facilities for MRI/CT scans and procedures requiring specialists. Tuberculosis testing of all inmates is mandatory and must be completed within three days of admittance.

57.  The Main Jail has two automated external defibrillators (AEDs), and correctional officers and medical personnel are trained in their use. They are also trained to administer CPR.

58.  Ill or injured inmates must fill out medical request forms (blue slip). The medical staff receives approximately 200 blue slips per month. Nurses pick up these slips twice daily when they distribute medicine. The nurse on duty reviews each complaint and determines if it can be handled by a nurse or if the inmate needs to be put on the sick call list. The list is given to the nurse practitioner, who reviews and triages the needs. Some action must be taken on each blue slip within 24 hours. In case of emergency correctional officers contact medical personnel.

59.  A blue slip must be completed for every medical problem, creating a backlog of slips. Many inmates reported having to wait up to three weeks to be seen. Requests range from simple medical needs, such as antibacterial ointment, to more serious medical services. Inmates said the medical treatment is very good once they receive it.

60.  Inmates are not seen in the medical unit on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. On other days 30 to 50 patients are examined per day. Under the best circumstances, it can take three to four days for medical personnel to see an inmate, unless it is determined to be an emergency.

61.  On a given day, 150 to 170 inmates are on maintenance medication. Medical staff dispenses medicine twice a day, at 7:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. In addition, some inmates require insulin every four hours. Because neither Blaine Street nor Rountree detention facilities have the medical staff needed to dispense medications on an ongoing basis, those requiring regular medication must be housed at the Main Jail, contributing to its overcrowding.

62.  Title 15 specifies any inmate who is diagnosed with mental health issues must have a face-to-face evaluation with a mental health professional within 24 hours of being booked into the facility. Those on psychiatric maintenance medication see the doctor at least once a month to review their medications. A psychiatrist works at the Main Jail 20 hours per week. Inmates diagnosed with mental health issues or with a dual diagnosis (the presence of both a mental health disorder and substance abuse disorder) constitute about ten percent of the jail population.

63.  Although no inmates attempted suicide during 2007, it remains an ongoing concern for the staff. Mental health workers prepare discharge treatment plans for the mentally ill inmates and coordinate in-jail services to qualify for MediCruz or Medi-Cal reimbursement. When an inmate is released, this process provides a continuity of services.

64.  The O Unit is the medical observation unit that includes individual rooms where physically or mentally ill inmates are monitored by medical staff and by a video monitoring system. Seven rooms have video monitoring. In addition, a “padded room” houses inmates who are a danger to themselves or others. This room also has video surveillance and physically inspected every 15 minutes. New linoleum has recently been installed over the concrete floors throughout the O Unit This new flooring can be more effectively cleaned and sanitized.

65.  A 5150 hold is a provision of the state’s Welfare and Institutions Code whereby people can be held for 72 hours if, as result of mental disorder, they pose a danger to themselves or others or are gravely disabled. Dominican Hospital is the only facility in the county licensed to care for 5150 patients. Those on 5150 hold and suspected of committing felonies are not accepted in Dominican’s Behavioral Health Unit and instead are booked into the Main Jail. Those with psychiatric problems need to be separated from the rest of the inmate population. If after the 72-hour hold, an inmate is still incapacitated and no licensed outside placement can be located, he or she remains in isolation in the medical unit. The jail does not have the resources to provide adequate psychiatric services, nor is it licensed to provide ongoing support services to these inmates.

66.  The jail provides on-site dental work two half days per month and serves about 18 inmates per month. The dental staff pulls teeth but does not provide fillings or more extensive dental work. Inmates must turn in a blue slip to request dental services. The jail dentist receives about 25 blue slip requests per month. Many inmates cancel their requests prior to their dental appointment. Recent legislation provides for more extensive dental work to be performed off-site if necessary and if approved by the correctional officers. This service is not extended to inmates sentenced to six months or less. Minimum security inmates are eligible to go to their own outside dentist. Medium and maximum security inmates are eligible to see an outside dentist if approved by the correctional officers. Anyone under administrative segregation for disciplinary reasons is not eligible to see an outside dentist. No provisions are being considered to address the dental needs of inmates incarcerated for longer than one year (about five percent of the population) and who also are not approved to see an outside dentist.

67.  The medical records of all present and past inmates are kept in paper files. The 2006 - 2007 Grand Jury found inmate records stored in the medical corridor, in violation of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) security and privacy requirements. The medical unit has recently installed a $25,000 mechanized file sorter, which provides complete security for each inmate’s medical folder and resolves previous security and confidentiality concerns.

68.  Inmates sleep on two-inch thick, fireproof, foam mattresses placed on concrete blocks. Due to limited supply, each inmate is issued only a single mattress. The State fire marshal and Bureau of Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation mandate the mattress’s overall length and width but not the thickness. To receive an additional mattress, an inmate must be housed in the Medical Observation Unit and the request approved by a doctor.

69.  The current medical budget is $3 million per year. Outside emergency medical visits for inmates account for $400,000 of that. Because Medi-Cal and most other insurance providers will not cover a person who is incarcerated, the jail is billed full hospital fees for inmate treatment at Dominican Hospital. The County is not offered a reduced rate.


70.  The average daily population (ADP) of the Main Jail continues to exceed the State-rated capacity of 311. The ADP for the first six months of 2007 was 358 (318 men and 40 women). The 2007 state inspection report identified overcrowding as a significant area of non-compliance.

71.  Triple bunks and/or boats (boat-shaped plastic beds that sit directly on the floor) are sometimes situated in the dayrooms, reducing space for daytime activities. The bunks and boats allow the jail to accommodate 422 beds even though its rated capacity is only 311.

72.  When a housing module becomes too crowded the inmates in that module can be traded to a larger module holding a smaller group of inmates.

73.  The maximum sentence a person can receive for a misdemeanor is one year, which can be shortened with time off for good behavior. However, if a person is convicted of several misdemeanors, the judge can order sentences to be served consecutively. In that case, an inmate could end up serving several years in the Mail Jail, adding to the total inmate population.

74.  Inmates doing “soft time” contribute to the overcrowded conditions. At any given time, the jail has 16 to 24 inmates charged with very serious crimes who are doing soft time awaiting appeal of their cases.

75.  The Sheriff’s Office offers a work release program for eligible inmates, which helps reduce overcrowding. The inmate pays a fee and does community work in lieu of serving time.

76.  A representative from the Sheriff’s Office chairs the Jail Overcrowding Committee, which consists of representatives from each of the following groups: law enforcement, the judiciary, prosecutors, probation, public defenders, county supervisors, county administrative office, health services and community service providers. It meets quarterly to examine methods of reducing overcrowding without jeopardizing public safety.

77.  The overcrowding committee has developed a set of strategies to reduce jail crowding, primarily at the Main Jail. The results of these efforts have been significant. The average monthly population in 2004 was 408. The 2007 average population was 347. The current average monthly population is down 15 percent compared to 2004.

78.  The overcrowding committee continues its efforts on a number of fronts that include

79.  A jail population control officer was appointed to monitor overcrowding at the Main Jail until a new classification system was completed. This position was discontinued at the beginning of fiscal year 2007 - 2008 and rolled into a classification supervisor position. The new position, along with the new classification system, allows more appropriate distribution of the county inmate population, which should then reduce the Main Jail population.

80.  The Board of Supervisors approved a medical staffing increase, which began in March of 2008 at the Rountree facility. As a result, an additional five to seven inmates a day may be transferred from the Main Jail to the Rountree facility.

81.  The Probation Department has implemented a number of alternative programs and added personnel to address jail crowding. These include

·   expanded pretrial services, such as release on one’s own recognizance with or without conditions.

·   a supervised release, which includes phone checks, field supervision, with conditions such as drug and alcohol testing.

·   intensive supervision, which includes field supervision, electronic monitoring and individualized conditions.

These supervised and intensely supervised programs account for an average jail population reduction of 30 jail beds per day.

82.  The Community Action Board, a local nonprofit agency, also provides a community service alternative to jail with its Community Restoration Program. This program provides supervised work crews in county parks and, together with Habitat for Humanity, builds low income housing. This alternative to jail served 54 individuals and saved an estimated 1,785 bed days in 2007.

83.  In Partnership with Community Action Board’s Gemma program the Probation Department is reducing the recidivism of females who typically are incarcerated for nonviolent offenses related to substance abuse. The women’s jail sentences are reduced contingent on participation in the residential component of the program. The program offers day treatment and skill-building classes for women.

84.  The Warrant Reduction Advocacy Program (WRAP) is designed to avert the issuance of probation bench warrants for individuals who have not maintained contact with their probation officers. Friends Outside provides a three-quarter time warrant reduction specialist to make contact with probationers and reconnect them to their probation officers. This program saves an estimated 40 jail bed days for each warrant averted.

85.  While all the jail reduction strategies are working as planned and the population has declined since 2005, the Main Jail is still above rated capacity. The daily jail population is the result of two variables: the number of individuals placed in jail and how long the inmates stay in jail. Had the recent measures not been put into place, the projected Main Jail population would have been 416 rather than the actual average population for 2007, which was 347.

Classification and Discipline

86.  The jail uses the National Council of Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) classification system to determine an inmate’s housing assignment. This system considers ten different factors that either increase or decrease points for an inmate. Within 24 hours, the inmate is classified as minimum, medium or maximum security depending on total points. Gang affiliation, medical needs, escape risk, level of violence, crimes committed, charges pending, and behavior while in custody are all factors used in the classification system.

87.  Inmates are classified by a formal process. The booking supervisor is the first person to consider an inmate’s classification within the facility. There are two classification correctional officers (working alternate shifts) who interview every new inmate, review the booking supervisor’s preclassification, and ultimately determine the inmate’s classification and housing placement within the facility. These two officers are supervised by the classification supervisor, a position added at the beginning of fiscal year 2007-2008.

88.  Inmates requiring disciplinary measures are monitored by two disciplinary correctional officers working alternating shifts. The disciplinary officers report to the classification supervisor.

89.  For safety reasons there are times when groups of inmates in a given housing module cannot get along with one another. In an effort to quell potential problems these groups of inmates can be “racked” (allowed out of their cells and into the dayrooms for a minimum of four hours per day).

90.  Privileges can be withheld if an inmate breaks the rules. According to Title 15, the degree of punitive actions taken by the disciplinary officer needs to be directly related to the severity of the rule infraction. The Main Jail has a four-point discipline system. A minor infraction could result in a verbal warning. A second minor infraction could result in a loss of visiting or commissary privileges or confinement to a cell for four hours. A maximum infraction, such as injury to someone, could result in administrative segregation (ad seg) lasting from ten to 60 days.

91.  Inmates unable to get along with others for any reason, such as gang affiliation, race hatred, or antisocial behavior, are assigned to ad seg, defined by Title 15 as separated from the general population. Inmates may request ad seg if they fear for their own safety. They can request a reclassification and/or change in housing assignment every 30 days.

92.  Some ad seg inmates are held in disciplinary isolation (lock-down), and confined to cells 23 hours a day with only one hour outside to eat, shower, exercise, watch TV, make phone calls, and talk with others. While locked down, they have no access to any type of religious services or addiction therapy support groups. They can turn in a green slip to talk with the chaplain or a blue slip to see medical personnel. They can also receive books from the book cart. Title 15 states no inmate can be in lock-down beyond 30 consecutive days without review by the facility manager. The jail complies with this Title 15 requirement.

93.  Title 15 states food is not to be used as a disciplinary measure. In the ad seg unit, food (mostly snacks) may be withheld as an incentive to improve behavior. Inmates always receive at least the state-required calories. After major violations of institution rules, inmates may be subjected to a disciplinary isolation diet in accordance with Title 15. Every 72 hours, the facility manager must approve the continuation of this diet. Reportedly the isolation diet has only been implemented on rare occasions.


1.      Booking. A more efficient booking process would reduce time officers unavailable to perform services in their own jurisdictions.

2.      Staffing. Although hourly welfare checks are being performed, and shift supervisors routinely check to ensure rounds are being done, other activities such as cell searches are being delayed due to lack of staff.

3.      Operations. The General Services Department should respond to complaints about and perform maintenance of the HVAC system in a more timely manner.

4.      Operations. Some shower areas are in need of immediate repair and many need to be kept in better sanitary condition.

5.      Inmate Services. The kitchen was originally built to accommodate 90 inmates. It needs to be enlarged and updated to serve the state-rated capacity of 311 inmates.

6.      Medical Services. An additional exam room is needed for speedier delivery of medical services.

7.      Medical Services. Because of the lack of alternative facilities, mentally ill inmates on a 5150 hold are kept in solitary confinement in the medical unit for long periods of time. The Main Jail is not licensed to provide ongoing care for this type of inmate.

8.      Overcrowding. Inmate overpopulation has led to reduced usability of common areas and inmates locked in their cells for longer periods.

9.      Overcrowding. Even though the current population exceeds the state-rated capacity, the Sheriff’s Office, along with the Probation Department, has made substantial progress in reducing the number of inmates.

10.  Overcrowding. The crowding problem strains the facility’s infrastructure and the staff’s ability to deliver services to the inmates. Because of the facility’s age and deteriorating condition and the impact of inmate overpopulation, increased maintenance will be needed in the future.


1.      Booking. The Grand Jury recommends the Board of Supervisors and the Sheriff’s Office locate funding to staff the Main Jail’s booking area and/or revise the booking protocols to reduce the time law enforcement officers must wait while completing the booking process.

2.      Staffing. The Grand Jury recommends the Board of Supervisors and the Sheriff’s Office locate moneys for the five currently unfunded correctional officer positions.

3.      Staffing. The Grand Jury recommends the Sheriff’s Office record the video surveillance of the building facility.

4.      Operations. The Grand Jury strongly recommends the Board of Supervisors directs that the General Services Department (GSD) fix the existing HVAC system or replace it with one that provides adequate heat and cooling of the inmate housing units.

5.      Operations. The Grand Jury strongly recommends the Sheriff’s Office and Board of Supervisors locate the necessary funding to repair shower areas as noted on the environmental health report and to direct the GSD makes repair of these shower areas a top priority.

6.      Operations. The Grand Jury recommends the Sheriff’s Office modify their operation protocols to direct the use of a strong disinfectant as frequently as necessary to inhibit infestation of insects and mold in the shower areas.

7.      Inmate Services. The Grand Jury recommends the Board of Supervisors and the Sheriff’s Office locate funding to expand and update the kitchen facilities at the Main Jail.

8.      Medical Services. The Grand Jury recommends the Board of Supervisors and the Sheriff’s Office purchase additional mattresses and blankets for the inmates.

9.      Medical Services. The Grand Jury recommends the blue slip protocols be revised to allow inmates to receive more efficient and timely medical services.

10.  Medical Services. The Grand Jury recommends the Sheriff’s Office and HSA develop a comprehensive strategy to meet the ongoing mental health needs of the 5150 inmates.

11.  Overcrowding. The Grand Jury recommends the Sheriff’s Office continue working with the overcrowding committee to reduce crowding at the Main Jail.


1.      Booking. The Sheriff’s Office is to be commended for implementing administrative safeguards along every step of the booking process for the protection of staff and detainees.

2.      Operations. The Sheriff’s Office personnel are to be commended for providing quality care to inmates despite overcrowded conditions and the age of the facility.

3.      Medical Services. The Sheriff’s Department and the Health Services Agency are to be commended for their delivery of quality medical services to inmates.

4.      Medical Services. The Board of Supervisors is to be commended for increasing medical staffing at the Main Jail.

5.      Overcrowding. The Sheriff’s Office and the Probation Department are to be commended for their ongoing efforts to provide alternative programs, which have reduced crowding.

6.      Classification/Discipline. The Sheriff’s Office is to be commended for adding a classification supervisor position.

Responses Required




Respond Within /

Respond By

County of Santa Cruz Board of Supervisors

3, 17, 27, 28

1, 2, 4, 5, 7

60 days

September 1, 2008

County of Santa Cruz Health Services Agency



90 days

October 1, 2008

County of Santa Cruz General Services Department



90 days

October 1, 2008

County of Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office

3, 17, 18, 27, 28, 39, 59, 65, 78

1 - 3, 5 - 11

60 days

September 1, 2008


2005-2006 and 2006-2007 Santa Cruz County Grand Jury Reports.

County Environmental Health and Safety Report, July 10, 2007.

Directory of Inmate Programs, September 2007.

Jail Overcrowding Committee reports presented to Board of Supervisors, February 2007, and February 2008.

Main Jail – Environmental Health Evaluation, July 10, 2007.

Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office Detention Bureau Procedures Inmate
Rules & Regulations, August 5, 2007.

Santa Cruz Fire/Life Safety Inspection Report, June 21, 2007.

State Corrections Standards Authority Inspection Report, July 19, 2005.

State Corrections Standards Authority Inspection Report, September 5, 2007.

Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office Annual Report, 2005.

Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office Correction Bureau Population Analysis Report,
July 1, 2007.

Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office Detention On-line Counter File.

Title 15 California Code of Ethics - minimum standards for local detention facilities.

Title 24 California Code of Ethics - minimum standards for care of inmates.