The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] – Volume 22, Number 38
Supervisory Board approves design phase of main prison rehabilitation project
By Taylor O’Connor
Mental health and medical resources as well as critical building updates will begin at the Santa Barbara County Main Jail after the design phase is approved by the board of directors.
Deputy County Director General Jeff Frapwell discussed current prison conditions and best rehabilitation options at the November 9 Supervisory Board meeting.
“The extent of the rehabilitation is critical to the long-term viability of the facility. It is not determined by the specific prison population; To a large extent, this is a necessary reflection of our needs to comply with the disability rights class action lawsuit in California, ”said Frapwell.
The 2017 trial, Murray v. Santa Barbara County, reached a regulation in 2020 to remedy “dangerous and unconstitutional conditions in the prison”. In the deal, the county pledged to improve medical and mental health care as well as suicide prevention practices at the prison, according to precedents. Sun report.
The selected rehabilitation project is expected to cost a total of $ 24.2 million – funded by the Department of Justice’s Community Policing Grant funds – and will take three and a half to four years to complete, a- he declared.
“This is the cheapest alternative to dealing with immediate deferred capital, the time required is considerably shorter than the other options, and it provides sufficient time to develop a needs assessment for future needs in a world. post-pandemic and assess the need for additional resources. program requirements, ”Frapwell said.
According to the letter of the board of directors of the general manager.
Prior to any major prison updates, an assessment will be considered from a study of the prison population and feedback from internal and community criminal justice stakeholders, Frapwell said.
First District Supervisor Das Williams has expressed financial concerns over any investment in the prison.
“I submit to you that the main prison is a money pit and the facilities generally do not improve with age; it usually gets worse. It’s not just $ 24 million, it’s $ 24 million plus increases as the facility continues to age, ”Williams said.
“We shouldn’t need to spend on maintenance and facilities and a big unknown in personnel costs. We haven’t even done the personnel cost analysis that this option will create, ”Williams continued. “We are being asked to follow a path that is an unknown number of millions more. ”
Fourth District Supervisor Bob Nelson saw prison investment as a tool, not a comprehensive solution, to beat crime.
“I’d much rather spend those dollars on roads, building parks and trails, but it’s one of those necessary things that we have to do,” he said.
Nelson pointed to an increase in shootings in Lompoc and prisons are a way to keep the community safe, he said.
“The shootings at Lompoc are surprising in the way our law enforcement resources are taxed,” Nelson continued.
About 239 violent crimes occurred in 2020 in Lompoc, according to FBI data, down from the 2019 rate of 291 violent crime reports. FBI 2021 data is not available, but the Lompoc Police Department reported two homicides and a shooting involving an officer, and investigated two gang-related shootings in October alone, according to the Lompoc website. city of Lompoc.
“There is serious criminal behavior that terrorizes members of our community. I want to make sure we have the tools to fix these issues in the future, ”Nelson said.