Santa Cruz County


Commissary: a place where inmates can purchase goods and toiletry items while in custody. An inmate may request individuals from outside the jail to put money in his/her account for these purchases, or an inmate can earn credits by attending classes or working in the jail for these purchases.

County Jail: a jail facility, usually operated by the County Sheriff, to hold un-sentenced prisoners suspected of felony or misdemeanor crimes and sentenced prisoners facing a term of one year or less

Electronic Monitoring: a program run by the Probation Department in which the offender is fitted with an ankle bracelet that is programmed to apprise the Probation Department of his/her whereabouts

Felony: a major crime punishable by confinement in a state prison, county jail, or by serving probation

Infirmary: an area within a healthcare unit set up and operated for the purpose of caring for patients who need skilled nursing care but are not in need of hospitalization or placement in a licensed nursing facility, and whose care cannot be managed safely in an outpatient setting. It is not the area itself, but the scope of care provided that makes the bed an infirmary bed.

Medium Security: a facility for inmates whose crime and criminal history do not pose a high security risk. They are housed in a locked facility, but often in a dorm-like setting, rather than in individual cells.

Minimum Security: a facility for inmates whose crime and criminal history pose very little security risk. They are housed in an unlocked facility.

Misdemeanor: a less serious crime punishable by confinement in a county jail normally for a period of one year or less, and/or probation

“O” Unit: the observation unit that includes rooms within the medical unit, where inmates who are physically or mentally ill are monitored both by video and medical staff

Parole: a condition of a sentence whereupon a person convicted of a felony crime is closely supervised by an agent (Parole Officer) of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation after being released from prison

Parole Hold: a parolee is placed in custody at the local county jail by his/her Parole Officer for having violated the conditions of parole or for committing a new crime. A hearing is held while the parolee is in custody (Valdivia Hearing) to determine the disposition of the parole violation.

Plastic Boats: used by the Sheriff to sleep inmates when the population surpasses the maximum capacity of the facility. The boat-shaped plastic bed sits directly on the floor within a cell block.

Prison: a place of confinement operated by the State of California to house persons convicted of a felony crime

Probation: a condition of the sentence whereupon a person convicted of a felony or misdemeanor crime, who is out of custody, is supervised by an agent (Probation Officer) of the county Probation Department

Rated Capacity: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Corrections Standards Authority, minimum standards for detention facilities, contained in Title 15 of the California Code of Regulations. It includes the number of inmates each detention facility was built to hold (rated capacity) and the number of inmates that can safely be housed in the facility (maximum capacity).

Rubber Room: an isolated room in which the walls and floors are covered in a rubber material. Inmates who present a serious danger to themselves can be housed in this room, which is monitored by a surveillance camera and visited by staff every fifteen minutes.

SAFE: Safe and Free Environment Program which is derived from the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment Grant (RSAT). This program is in operation at the Rountree Medium Security facility for male inmates.

Sobriety Cell: used if a newly arrested individual needs time to sober up before going through the booking process

Ward: an offender who is under the age of eighteen years whose case is under the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court


There are seven facilities that comprise the jail system in Santa Cruz County:

1.         Main Jail

2.         Rountree Medium

3.         Rountree Minimum

4.         Blaine Street

5.         Court Holding

6.         Juvenile Hall

7.         Camp 45

The first five facilities listed are operated by the Santa Cruz County Sheriff. Juvenile Hall is operated by the Probation Department. The budget for each of these facilities is under the control of the county Board of Supervisors. Camp 45 is operated by the California Department of Corrections, and its budget is under the control of the State of California.


The Grand Jury is mandated by California Penal Code § 919(b) to inspect and report on the conditions and management of the jail facilities within the county. To satisfy this mandate, the Criminal Justice Committee of the Grand Jury:

·        inspected each facility at least once;

·        spoke with management, staff, and inmates at each facility;

·        reviewed previous Grand Jury reports, paying particular interest to prior recommendations;

·        reviewed relevant laws in the California Penal Code and Code of Regulation;

·        reviewed California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation inspection reports for each facility.

Main Jail

The Santa Cruz Main Jail is located at 259 Water Street, across the street from the County Courthouse. Two visits were made. The first visit was during the day on September 29, 2005, and the second visit was in the evening on March 2, 2006.

Main Jail Findings

1.         On September 29, 2005, the total inmate population was 384. On March 2, 2006, the population was 330. The current rated capacity is 311, with a maximum capacity of 400. The jail population consists of both male and female inmates who have cases pending, have been sentenced, or who are awaiting sentencing. When beds are not available due to overcrowding, temporary beds called “boats” are used.

2.         All law enforcement agencies must bring newly arrested individuals to the main jail for processing. This process is known as being “booked.” Additionally, all newly booked inmates are shown a video that explains the rules and what the inmate should expect while being housed at the jail. A copy of the video was provided to this Grand Jury for review. The video is available in English and Spanish.

3.         The County of Santa Cruz had two significant issues of non-compliance issued by the California Department of Corrections. The issues included overcrowding and inadequate staffing.[1]

4.         In the 2004-2005 Santa Cruz County Grand Jury Final Report Jail Review, it was reported that the booking fees per inmate for the fiscal year through April 2005 were $168.00. This fee was paid by each city law enforcement agency, and then each city agency was reimbursed by the State of California. Figures provided by a county analyst reflect that revenue actually collected as of April 2005, was approximately $850,380.00. In May 2005, the booking fee was increased to $211.35. However, due to the change in Government Code § 29550, the county is now only able to bill for half of the actual costs of booking. The actual “reimbursed” booking fee amount is now $105.68. Due to this reduction in reimbursable booking fees, the actual revenue seen in the past year will be lowered by thirty-seven percent.

5.         The Grand Jury observed that this facility’s ongoing maintenance was apparent. The smell of fresh paint was in the air, and painting of the inside was reported to be continuous. Inside doors were being upgraded and/or repaired. Plans are in place to renovate the plumbing and shower system in one of the cell block areas. The jail was clean in appearance. Inmates were respectful toward all officers.

6.         While there are cameras at the main entrance to the jail, surveillance cameras were lacking on the outside of the facility by the vehicle entrance to the booking area.

7.         Visiting rooms, both “non-contact” and “contact” were inspected. Visiting hours for both attorneys and civilians had strict requirements. A survey was sent to ten defense attorney offices in the county soliciting input regarding conditions of the visiting rooms and hours of visiting.[2] Soon after that survey, the visiting hours for attorneys were expanded to allow 24-hour access, except at meals. The “non-contact” attorney visiting rooms had been greatly improved. Feedback has been positive.

8.         Inmate grievances are reviewed by detention staff. Responses to the inmates’ grievances are made both orally and in writing.

9.         An upgraded “strip search room” is pending construction. Plans are in progress to enlarge and remodel the kitchen facility.

10.     A formal meeting room, once used as a library, is now being used to conduct parole hearings.

11.     Programs and classes that are available to the inmates include: educational and GED programs, religious services, counseling, anger management, parenting classes, domestic violence classes, and drug and alcohol classes. Attendance is high.

12.     Prior to inmate placement in a housing unit, strict criteria of classification are followed. This placement process includes: an interview with the inmate to determine criminal sophistication, gender, whether there is a need for the inmate to be in protective custody due to gang affiliation and charges, if the inmate is an escape risk, if the inmate has any physical, medical, or mental health needs.

13.     Tuberculosis (TB) testing is an optional component of the booking process.

14.     There was one reported death this year at the jail prior to our first site visit. A copy of the report on this incident was requested from the Sheriff, but has not been provided.

15.     There have been no escapes in the past year. 

16.     Correctional officers receive twenty-four hours of training each year under the Standard Training for Corrections, which is under the Department of Corrections. This is state-mandated training to review commonly accepted practice and to further educate officers and deputies on changes in the field and in dealing with inmates.

17.     The Medical Unit treats inmates from all county jail facilities. All medical staff are employed by the county Health Services Agency (HSA), and their budget is approved by the Board of Supervisors.

18.     A member of the medical staff is on-site twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Medical staff includes one physician, registered nurses, unlicensed assistive personnel (UAP), a mental health psychiatric technician, a nurse practitioner, and a medical assistant.

19.     As stated in previous jail reviews, the nurses’ pay schedule is below what a nurse can earn in the private sector. Detention facility nurses earn $37.00 per hour, while a nurse at a local hospital could earn $51.00 per hour. In December 2005, there were three vacancies for registered nurses. These positions include nursing responsibilities at the Main Jail, Juvenile Hall, and Rountree.

20.     When an inmate requires medical treatment that cannot be provided by the medical unit, for conditions such as stroke, heart attack, cancer, or broken bones, the inmate is taken by ambulance or patrol car to Dominican Hospital, Doctors on Duty, or the County Health Clinic. The hourly cost for a deputy to transport an inmate is $65.00. The Sheriff’s Department has a contract for services with a private security company to guard hospitalized inmates for $18.08 per hour.

21.     “O” unit is designated for inmates with serious psychiatric problems. Seven of the rooms have video monitoring. One healthcare worker is present in this unit. There is a padded or “rubber” room known as Room 13 that is used to house inmates who are a danger to themselves or others. The room is monitored by video surveillance and physically inspected every fifteen minutes.

22.     Inmates who need to take medication receive it in the form of a bubble pack. By taking advantage of this method of dispensing medications to inmates, the jail is able to return any unused medications. The County of Santa Cruz, through the Health and Human Services Agency, has contracted with a company that allows unused medication to be returned. Approximately ten to eighteen percent of the jail population is on psychotropic drugs.

23.     The jail has been, and continues to be, a no smoking facility.

24.     The Grand Jury observed that the surrounding grounds were clean and well maintained.

Main Jail Conclusions

1.         All officers and staff conducted themselves in a professional manner during site inspections.

2.         Upgrades to the plumbing, kitchen, and the “strip search” rooms are being undertaken.

3.         The outside grounds are being maintained.

4.         Overcrowding remains an issue.

5.         The low pay scale for nursing staff makes it difficult to attract and keep personnel.

6.         The new “bubble pack” for dispensing medications has proven to be cost effective.

7.         A video prepared for newly arrested individuals has proven to be of assistance in the booking process.

8.         The recent improvements made to the interview rooms, the increase in attorney visiting hours, and the renovation of the old library into a room used for parole hearings have received positive responses.

9.         Because TB testing for a newly booked inmate is non-mandatory, it raises a health risk due to the fact that TB can be easily transmitted. The health risk to staff and other inmates is a concern.

10.     The lack of cameras for monitoring the outside garage/booking area needs to be addressed for enhanced security.

11.     The recent loss of booking fee revenue, due to the reduction in reimbursement amounts from the State of California, will have an effect on the jail budget.

Main Jail Recommendations

1.         The Sheriff’s Department should continue with its improvement projects currently in progress for the renovation of the plumbing, the kitchen, and the “strip search” rooms.

2.         The Board of Supervisors should review nurses’ salaries and consider pay increases to attract and retain competent staff.

3.         The projected loss of revenue due to the decrease in booking fees collected and the impact that it will have on the jail and jail staff should be addressed by the Board of Supervisors and the Sheriff.

4.         Potential liability could be reduced by upgrading surveillance cameras for the areas around the jail and garage/booking area. These upgrades should be budgeted by the Board of Supervisors and implemented by the Sheriff.

5.         TB testing for newly booked inmates should be mandatory. Funding should be provided by the Board of Supervisors and testing implemented by the Health Services Agency.

6.         Jail administrators and staff should be commended for their professionalism in managing day-to-day duties and keeping up with modern advances in running an efficient, secure facility.




Responses required




Respond Within

Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors

3, 4, 6, 9,

13, 19, 20

2 - 6

60 Days

(September 1, 2006)


Santa Cruz County Sheriff-Coroner

3, 4, 7, 9,

13, 14, 20

1, 3, 5

60 Days

(September 1, 2006)



The Rountree Facility is located in Watsonville on Rountree Lane and includes medium and minimum security facilities for sentenced males. Two site visits were made to both facilities. The first visit was made in October 2005 in the late evening. The second visit was made in February 2006 in the early morning hours. Each facility is unique in its operational rules and programs offered.

Medium Security

The facility, located at 90 Rountree Lane in Watsonville, was built in 1993. The interior of the building is maintained by inmates and is exemplary in appearance. The California Department of Corrections has given the facility a rated capacity of 96 inmates and a maximum of 110. All inmates are sentenced. There were seventy-five inmates at the time of the first visit and sixty-six at the time of the second visit.

Medium Security Findings

25.     Spanish is the primary language for forty-five to sixty percent of the inmate population, although there is only one bilingual staff person per shift.

26.     The Grand Jury observed that the four visiting stations were clean and generally well maintained. Appointments for visiting are scheduled in advance and are usually for one hour, two times per week. Visitors cannot be on parole or have been in custody within the past sixty days.

27.     A statewide no smoking policy was initiated in all detention facilities in September 2005 and seems to be relatively well accepted. Correctional officers have assisted in facilitating inmate acceptance.

28.     There are several small, quiet rooms off a hallway across from the dormitories. Some of the rooms are equipped with a computer, although there is no internet access. The rooms allow for “time-off,” “cooling down,” separation of inmates, or a space to discuss personal problems with a correctional officer.

29.     The kitchen area is clean, and meals are sufficient in quantity. Inmates eat in two twenty-minute shifts and are free to sit where they wish in the cafeteria. Vending machines are located in the cafeteria area.

30.     The living areas are dormitory style with five bays, each with eleven beds. A correctional officer is present in the dormitory at all times.

31.     The SAFE Program (an in-house drug program) has forty allocated beds. The annual budget for the program is $200,000. There were twenty-seven inmates in the program in October and twenty-four in the program in February.

32.     The SAFE Program is voluntary, but has eligibility criteria. Volunteers must complete all four phases of the program, even though it could result in an extension of an inmate’s release date from Medium Security.

33.     Funding for the SAFE Program is in jeopardy. When funding ran out in January 2006, the County of Santa Cruz agreed to fund the program through June.

34.     Inmates in the SAFE Program have only one opportunity to participate in the program. A discipline problem may result in removal from the program.

35.     Several classrooms exist within the facility. Classes offered include: GED, English as a Second Language, Substance Abuse, and Ray of Hope. Meetings include A.A. and anger management. An AIDS class and testing are scheduled quarterly.

36.     During the October site visit, inmates were unable to view donated videos due to copyright infringement. The issue had been resolved by the February visit. The inmates now have satellite TV purchased entirely through the inmate welfare fund.

37.     Inmates who need frequent medical attention or have chronic conditions such as diabetes mellitus, or psychiatric disorders are, generally, not placed at either Rountree facility. However, on occasion, inmates who take single psychotropic drugs may be placed at either facility if they are considered stable.

38.     As noted in last year’s Santa Cruz County Grand Jury Final Report, the lack of an on-site nurse precludes inmates who require cardiac, psychotropic drug combinations, or injectable medications from being placed in the medium or minimum security facility.

39.     No physician comes to the facility. It is reported that a nurse comes to the facility eight hours every day, Monday through Friday, to check and/or replenish medications. The nurse may check an inmate’s temperature and/or blood pressure, if needed.

40.     Medications are in bubble packs, kept in an alphabetical file, and are dispensed under the supervision of an officer at mealtime. The process of medication administration involves an inmate identifying himself, removing appropriate medication from the bubble pack, taking the medication, and signing a card to indicate receipt of the medicine. The medicine and files are secured except for meal times. The most common medications are antihistamines, antibiotics, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

41.     An inmate requiring medical attention must be transported to the Main Jail Facility, Doctors On Duty, or a local emergency room. The costs for transportation, an accompanying officer, and services provided are significant.

42.     Inmate dental work is performed at the Main Jail Facility one day a month. Only basic services are rendered such as pulling teeth; fillings and crown work are not considered basic. Transportation costs are incurred.

43.     Testing for HIV, hepatitis C, tuberculosis, and sexually transmitted diseases is optional.

44.     Grievance procedures are posted in several areas. Grievances are generally minor. The complaint form is filled out by the inmate and responded to by the subject of the complaint. Typically, the supervisor will review the complaint and subject’s response within several days and will seek a resolution.

45.     Depending on the severity of the violation, discipline problems may be handled with a verbal warning, revocation of privileges, or a return to the Main Jail.

Medium Security Conclusions

12.     The physical appearance of the facility, including the kitchen and visiting areas, is exemplary.

13.     Bilingual staffing is minimal and is not always adequate to serve the inmate population.

14.     The SAFE Program is costly for the small number of inmates served.

15.     Staff seem to be oriented toward problem resolution. Resolution of the recent video copyright infringement issue was cost-effective and timely.

16.      Grievances are handled in a timely manner.

17.     An on-site nurse would allow placement of additional low-risk inmates from the main jail facility who require closer medication administration monitoring.

18.     Inmates share an enclosed facility twenty-four hours a day with other inmates who may not have agreed to medical testing for transmissible diseases.

19.     Expenses for medical care, transportation to and from medical care, and the additional cost of accompanying security personnel could be reduced.

20.     Classes offered at the facility are located in formal classrooms and are in keeping with the structured environment.

21.     A mutually respectful relationship was consistently observed between the correctional officers and inmates.

Medium Security Recommendations

7.         The Board of Supervisors and the Health Services Agency should seek reduction of medical transportation and security costs by contracting with appropriate local medical personnel. Contracting with a Physician Assistant or Nurse Practitioner for one day a week (or even an on-call status) would reduce the costs of transportation for non-urgent medical care.

8.         The Sheriff should weigh the cost-effectiveness of the SAFE program (lacking outcome statistics) against other needs at the facility.

9.         As recommended in the 2004-2005 Santa Cruz County Grand Jury Final Report, to alleviate overcrowding at the main jail, the Health Services Agency should consider employing an on-site registered nurse to facilitate the transfer of lower risk main jail inmates who require medication or monitoring of chronic conditions to the Rountree Medium Facility. Appropriate funding should be included in the budget by the Board of Supervisors.

10.     Given the close proximity of inmates and the ease of air-borne transmission, tuberculosis testing by the Health Services Agency should be mandatory and incorporated into the booking process by the Sheriff.

11.     The Sheriff should increase bilingual staff at the next hiring opportunity.

12.     The Sheriff should remain open to the addition of vocational classes that build self-esteem and facilitate preparation for employment and re-entry into society.

13.     Staff should be commended by the Board of Supervisors for their knowledge, professionalism, display of genuine concern for inmates, and the conscientious manner in which they fulfill their duties.

Responses required




Respond Within

Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors



7-10, 13

60 Days

(September 1, 2006)

Santa Cruz County Sheriff-Coroner

25, 31-35,


7, 8, 11, 12

60 Days

(September 1, 2006)


Minimum Security

The Minimum Security Facility, previously known as “The Farm,” is an older, barracks-style facility built in the 1970s. The facility is located at 100 Rountree Lane in Watsonville. The minimum security facility has a rated capacity for 162 and a maximum of 250. It housed 114 inmates in October 2005 and 100 in February 2006.

Minimum Security Findings

46.     Many of the inmates participate in work-release programs. The programs allow employers within the county to request a certain number of inmates with particular skills to work for them on a particular date.

47.     Other inmates attend vocational classes on-site, go to Adult Education Computer Assembly and Repair programs in Watsonville, or attend Adult Education GED classes in Watsonville.

48.     Educational programs are provided through a contract with the Pajaro Valley Unified School District.

49.     On-site vocational programs include classes about: computer skills development, gardening and landscaping, English as a Second Language, substance abuse (in English and Spanish), anger management, bible study, and an animal bonding program.

50.     An immensely popular series of vocational courses includes auto body, advanced auto body, auto detailing, and auto paint mixing. This series has been in existence since 1979. It commonly has a waiting list of thirty applicants.

51.     Each of the programs/classes requires a certain number of hours (150-350) of participation in order to earn a certificate.

52.     Certificates earned by an inmate may be a consideration when an inmate requests a modification of sentence.

53.     A separate bicycle refurbishing program was started in 1998 in cooperation with a local Marines Toys for Tots program. The Marines purchase parts for the bikes and inmates refurbish eighty to one hundred bicycles per year. Marines then distribute the bikes to children and teens in the Santa Cruz area.

54.     The facility is partially sustained by inmates who are responsible for a portion of the laundry service, maintenance of all buildings, and landscaping services.

55.     The plumbing and septic systems are using outdated seven-gallon flush toilets. Due to the older plumbing system, some of the laundry must be contracted out to prevent system overload.

56.     There is no perimeter fence on the thirty-acre site between the facility and residential neighborhoods.

57.     Inmates are screened and selected for the minimum facility based on interviews with the Sheriff’s Department correctional officers to determine appropriate fit.

58.     In the past four years, escapes (walkaways) have been reduced in number from thirty-three per year to nine per year.

59.     Within the past year, cameras that monitor the facilities and grounds have been upgraded from black and white to color, but are still too limited in their range and clarity, according to detention staff.

Minimum Security Conclusions

22.     The facility offers a substantial number of quality vocational programs.

23.     Vocational and work-release programs facilitate skill-building and opportunities for potential employment upon release from custody.

24.     The bicycle refurbishing program directly benefits the community.

25.     The necessity to contract a portion of the laundry services is costly.

26.     A residential neighborhood borders the perimeter of the property. The lack of a fence around the property perimeter is a potential liability for the county.

27.     The reduction in the number of walkaways is commendable and reflects the integration of appropriate screening criteria.

28.     Security of the facility and officer and inmate safety would be enhanced with updated camera and monitoring equipment.

Minimum Security Recommendations

14.     The Sheriff should continue all vocational programs and work-release opportunities and should remain open to the addition of vocational programs that prepare for employment.

15.     The Board of Supervisors needs to be aware of and reduce potential liability for the county by installing a fence to secure the grounds.

16.     Bringing the plumbing and septic system up to modern standards would reduce water usage and laundry services and should be implemented by the Board of Supervisors and the Sheriff.

17.     Upgrading camera and monitoring equipment would contribute to officer and inmate safety and security of the facility. Sufficient funding should be provided by the Board of Supervisors and implemented by the Sheriff.

18.     Staff should be commended for their success in screening and inmate placement.

19.     Staff should be commended for offering a variety of programs leading to potential future employment, self-esteem, and community benefit.

20.     Staff is to be commended by the Board of Supervisors for their organization of programs, work-release scheduling, and dedication to the goals of operating a safe, structured, but humane facility.

Responses required




Respond Within

Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors



60 Days

(September 1, 2006)

Santa Cruz County Sheriff



60 Days

(September 1, 2006)


Blaine Street

This jail facility is located at 144 Blaine Street, Santa Cruz. It was opened in 1984. This is a minimum security facility housing sentenced female inmates who are suited for minimum security. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has given this facility a rated capacity of thirty-two with a maximum capacity of forty-two. The jail facility, a converted residence, is located in a residential neighborhood behind the main jail.

Blaine Street Findings

60.     This facility houses sentenced female inmates who pose a minimum threat to the community. Common crimes are substance abuse, welfare fraud, bad checks, and identification theft.

61.     The inmate population is often from the community transient population. When discharged, most inmates have no permanent residence.

62.     The average monthly inmate population is twenty-seven. On October 13, 2005, the population was twenty-eight and on March 2, 2006, the population was thirty-two.

63.     There were two escapes last year. If an inmate walks away from the facility, she is charged with the crime of escape. The facility has a no-chase policy on escapes in progress.

64.     There is one correctional officer on duty each shift. The facility is supervised by a Supervising Correctional Officer.

65.     The Grand Jury observed that staff and inmates show mutual respect to each other while at the facility.

66.     The Grand Jury observed that the grounds and facility are well maintained.

67.     The Grand Jury observed that kitchen facilities were clean and appeared adequate despite their non-institutional design. Meals are prepared by inmate kitchen staff.

68.     Inmates at this facility can work in the kitchen at the main jail and learn food preparation job skills.

69.     Inmates serve as Kitten Foster Parents, in cooperation with the Animal Shelter, caring for kittens until they are old enough to be placed for adoption.

70.     Inmates attending GED classes must be transported to the Adult Education campus in Santa Cruz as there are not sufficient numbers of students to qualify for on-site teaching.

71.     Inmates and staff are not permitted to smoke at this facility.

72.     Drugs and other prohibited items can be easily introduced into the facility by throwing them over the fence from the public sidewalk.

73.     On-site programs available to inmates include:

·        Alcoholics Anonymous

·        Narcotics Anonymous

·        computer skills class

·        parenting skills class

·        literacy skills

·        yoga instruction

74.     Job skills training is minimal. The only training available is in the areas of computer skills and kitchen skills.

75.     The recidivism rate is high for inmates at this facility, as many do not have a residence to return to or do not have useful job skills.

76.     The facility passed inspection by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

77.     Inmates are housed in two-person bedrooms that were observed to be clean and well organized.

Blaine Street Conclusions

29.     The facility is operated by a professional staff.

30.     The facility is well maintained and designed to meet the needs of the community.

31.     The Kitten Foster Parent program provides a good service to the community and inmates benefit from the act of caring for the animals.

32.     Additional fencing could reduce introduction of drugs and other prohibited material into the facility.

33.     More job skills training would help inmates find gainful employment upon release from custody.

Blaine Street Recommendations

21.     The Board of Supervisors should commend the staff for their professionalism.

22.     Additional fencing that would not distract from the neighborhood setting should be considered by the Sheriff, with sufficient funding provided by the Board of Supervisors, to reduce the introduction of drugs and other prohibited items into the facility.

23.     The Sheriff should solicit additional job training classes from educational, professional, and community organizations to help inmates be successful upon their return to the community.

Responses required




Respond Within

Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors



60 Days

(September 1, 2006)

Santa Cruz County Sheriff-Coroner

74, 75


60 Days

(September 1, 2006)


Court Holding Facility

The Court Holding Facility is located in the basement of the Superior Court building located at 701 Ocean Street in Santa Cruz and is operated by the Office of the Sheriff. Inmates are transported by vehicle from their custodial facility and held at this facility before and after their court appearances.

Court Holding Facility Findings

78.     This facility passed inspection by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation as a holding facility.

79.     The facility consists of five large concrete rooms for holding inmates.

80.     Between forty and fifty inmates per day pass through the facility.

81.     Inmates may change into personal clothing before appearance at a jury trial.

82.     Holding rooms are monitored by video surveillance.

83.     There is no video surveillance covering the outside entrance to the facility or the stairwell leading to the courts.

84.     The facility was found to be clean and well maintained.

Court Holding Facility Conclusions

34.     The facility is well organized and operated in an efficient manner.

35.     Security would be enhanced by the addition of video surveillance cameras to the exterior of the facility and stairwell leading to the courts.

Court Holding Facility Recommendations

24.     The Board of Supervisors should commend the staff for their professionalism.

25.     Sufficient funding should be provided by the Board of Supervisors for the Sheriff to enhance the video surveillance capabilities to provide better security for the public and staff in and around the facility.

Responses required




Respond Within

Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors



60 Days

(September 1, 2006)

Santa Cruz County Sheriff-Coroner



60 Days

(September 1, 2006)


Juvenile Hall

Juvenile Hall is located at 3650 Graham Hill Road in Felton and is operated by the Santa Cruz County Probation Department. It was established in 1968. It houses sentenced and unsentenced juvenile offenders, both male and female, between the ages of twelve and eighteen. It has a rated capacity of forty-two. The Juvenile Court branch of the Superior Court of California is located within the facility and presides over all juvenile cases.

In 1999, Santa Cruz County Juvenile Hall was selected by the Annie E. Casey Foundation as one of only four facilities in the nation as a model site for the reduction of the unnecessary incarceration of juvenile offenders.

Juvenile Hall Findings

85.     Juvenile Hall has been rated to house forty-two wards by the California Department of Corrections. The average daily population between March 2005 and February 2006 was 18.4. This is down from 24.7 in 2004.

86.     Approximately seventy-nine percent of the population is juvenile boys and twelve percent is juvenile girls.

87.     Sixty percent of staff are bilingual.

88.     The average stay is five days. This figure is down from 10.6 days in 2002.

89.     Juvenile Hall has passed inspections by the California Department of Corrections, County of Santa Cruz Environmental Health Services, Scotts Valley Fire Protection District, Superior Court of California, and the Santa Cruz County Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Commission.

90.     The County of Santa Cruz was found to be delinquent in conducting the mandated medical/mental health inspections.

91.     Wards are housed in two units, one of which houses more criminally sophisticated wards. The units are connected by a common hallway.

92.     Wards are housed in private rooms that are small but contain necessary personal features. Wards spend most of their day outside their rooms.

93.     Upon intake, wards are given an orientation on the rules of the facility and the consequences of a violation. Rules are also posted on bulletin boards.

94.     Grievances can be filed and placed in a grievance box that is checked daily.

95.     Parents are charged a daily fee of $24 while their child is housed at Juvenile Hall.

96.     Local law enforcement agencies are not charged a booking fee. There is a local protocol for booking criteria.

97.     A Grand Jury inspection showed the grounds and facility to be clean and well maintained.

98.     The outside exercise area is considered too small by current state standards, and the facility does not have a gymnasium or covered (shaded) courtyard. The facility is exempted from conforming due to its age.

99.     Staff and wards continue to complain of poor heating and air conditioning within the facility.

100. According to staff, the video monitoring system is old and inadequate.

101. Most doors are secured by key-locking systems that can cause a delay during an emergency response.

102. The food facilities were clean and appeared adequate. Food Services passed the Nutritional Health Evaluation.

103. Nursing services are available seven days a week. There is one mental health therapist to every four wards. Medications are administered in the morning and evening. A physician assistant is present one time per week as is a physician.

104. The County Office of Education provides educational services at Juvenile Hall. The school is named Robert A. Hartman School, and was one of only a few detention facility schools that received a six-year accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

105. The Probation Department continues to operate the Oasis Program that offers home supervision and encourages pro-social activities. The program reports a ninety percent success rate.

106. National studies have shown it is more beneficial to return offending juveniles back to their community than detaining them in secure detention facilities such as Juvenile Hall.

107. Santa Cruz County Juvenile Hall was selected as the model site in the nation for small counties in the elimination of unnecessary use of secure detention of juveniles. Model sites for larger counties were in Chicago, Oregon, and New Mexico.

108. Santa Cruz County is prominently featured in a DVD produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation documenting the power and effectiveness of juvenile detention alternatives to better protect public safety, help kids in trouble, and save taxpayer dollars.

109. Juvenile Hall provides many programs to enrich the wards such as Barrios Unidos, yoga, substance abuse counseling, writing, and poetry instruction.

110. The poetry program is immensely popular among the wards and offers them instruction in the writing arts. It gives participants the opportunity to have their writing published in a weekly newsletter published by Pacific News Service. This program provides a therapeutic opportunity and builds self-esteem.

111. There have been no escapes from Juvenile Hall during the last year.

112. The Board of Supervisors appoints qualified members of the community to the Santa Cruz County Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Commission, which is charged with monitoring the practices and performance of staff at Juvenile Hall and recommend changes.

113. This commission’s report reflects that Santa Cruz County has one of the most highly regarded juvenile justice systems in the country.

Juvenile Hall Conclusions

36.     Juvenile Hall is well managed and operated by a professional and caring staff.

37.     Juvenile Hall buildings and grounds are well maintained despite the age of the facilities.

38.     A covered outside exercise area would provide a better place for physical activity during poor weather conditions.

39.     Juvenile Hall provides excellent programs to enrich the wards.

40.     Juvenile Hall has been nationally recognized for its efforts in reducing the detention of juveniles.

41.     Home supervision programs continue to be successful.

42.     Video monitoring is inadequate and should be upgraded along with the necessary electronic infrastructure to ensure safety and security.

43.     Electronic security doors and intercom systems would provide better security and safety.

44.     The heating and ventilation system in Juvenile Hall continues to be inadequate despite numerous recommendations for its upgrade.

45.     The county and Juvenile Hall were delinquent in obtaining the required medical/mental health inspection.

Juvenile Hall Recommendations

26.     Sufficient money should be budgeted by the Board of Supervisors to upgrade the security system with emphasis on video monitoring, electronic security doors, and the necessary infrastructure upgrades. This recommendation was made by the Santa Cruz County Grand Jury in 2003, 2004, and 2005. The county agreed with the recommendation, but it has not yet been implemented.

27.     Sufficient money should be budgeted by the Board of Supervisors to upgrade the heating and ventilation system at Juvenile Hall. This recommendation was also made by the Santa Cruz County Grand Jury in 2003 and 2005. The county agreed with the recommendation, but it also has not yet been implemented.

28.     Sufficient money should be budgeted by the Board of Supervisors for the construction of a covering over the courtyard area which would provide an exercise area during poor weather conditions.

29.     The Probation Department should ensure that medical/mental health inspections (as with all other mandated inspections) are conducted in a timely fashion.

30.     The Board of Supervisors should commend the Probation Department and Juvenile Hall staff for their professionalism and their dedication to the community.

Response required




Respond Within

Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors



26, 27, 28, 30

60 Days

(September 1, 2006)

Santa Cruz County Probation Dept.



90 Days

(October 1, 2006)


Camp 45

Camp 45 is located at 13575 Empire Grade Road in Santa Cruz and is operated by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. It opened in June 2005 as a prison camp to house low-risk adult male prisoners. The facility was previously operated by the California Youth Authority from 1947 to 2005.

Camp 45 is a satellite facility of the California State Prison, Susanville, and is a minimum security facility that is operated as a fire conservation camp in cooperation with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF).

Camp 45 is operated by the State of California and is, therefore, not obligated to respond to the Santa Cruz County Grand Jury, but it is invited to do so.

Camp 45 Findings

114. The facility has a rated capacity of 110 inmates.

115. The average daily population was 102 for the first quarter and 107 for the second quarter.

116. As of December 13, 2005, there had been only one escape (walk-away).

117. Most inmates have less than one year remaining on their sentence. For every day working in a program or on a fire crew, an inmate receives credit for two days served.

118. Inmates convicted of a crime of violence and verified prison gang members are not permitted to serve time at a camp.

119. No inmates from Santa Cruz County are permitted to serve time at this camp.

120. Probable cause and random drug testing is performed one to four times a month.

121. After an inmate is assigned to the camp, he must participate in a one-week physical fitness training program and then attend a fire fighting school. Upon successful completion of these two programs, he is assigned to a fire crew led by a CDF captain.

122. In preparation for opening the facility, staff met with local residents and agreed to notify local homeowners’ associations and schools of any escapes.

123. Only non-prescription products are available unless specific medication is prescribed by a physician. Inmates with more serious medical problems are either taken to a local medical facility or returned to their original institution for treatment.

124. During the off season, fire crews are sent out to schools, parks, and other facilities to perform vegetation removal.

125. There is a pre-release class to help inmates prepare for their return to society.

126. In the first five months of operation, four staff members transferred from the camp due to the high cost of living in the area and lack of family living quarters. To maintain minimum staffing, correctional officers often work overtime or must be brought in temporarily from other institutions.

127. Staff reported the recidivism rate is lower from camps than standard institutions.

128. There were no reported assaults on correctional officers. Inmate violation of rules can result in loss of privileges or immediate return to their original institution, depending on severity.

129. Due to the newness of the facility, there were few books and educational materials in the library for inmates to read.

130. A Grand Jury inspection showed that the grounds and facilities were very clean and well maintained.

Camp 45 Conclusions

46.     The facility is operated by a conscientious and professional staff.

47.     Due to the high cost of living in Santa Cruz County, retaining trained staff has been a problem.

48.     Additional books for the inmates to read would be a benefit.

49.     The camp provides a service to the community.

Camp 45 Recommendations

31.     Department of Corrections staff should continue to meet with neighborhood and community organizations and be an active partner in the community.

32.     Department of Corrections staff should reach out to community organizations to obtain donations of appropriate books and learning materials for the educational enrichment of the inmates.

33.     Department of Corrections should continue to seek solutions to affordable housing problems to retain qualified professional staff.

Responses requested but not required




Respond Within

California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation

122, 126,



90 Days

(October 1, 2006)




Ten letters sent out to defense lawyers; some sole practitioners and two public defender offices

Twenty-two responses received


Question: How long have you been a criminal defense attorney practicing in Santa Cruz County?

From five months to over thirty years

Question: What is the average length of time that you wait to see a client at the main jail in Santa Cruz?

Responses: Fifteen to twenty minutes, with the rare wait of over thirty minutes

Question: What interview room do you prefer (or request) when visiting a client?

Responses: Majority preferred “contact rooms” and the old library was mentioned three times

Question: What is the most common problem, if any, that you encounter at the main jail when seeing a client?

Twelve responses complained about lengthy waits

Twelve responses complained about restrictive hours

Four responses complained that the interview rooms were being used as holding cells for Department #11

Eleven responses complained re: lengthy waits after pushing button alerting staff when interview was over

Eleven responses complained of the smell of urine in “contact” interview rooms

Eleven responses complained that the “contact” interview rooms were dirty

Four responses complained that there were not enough interview rooms

Question: How would you characterize the attitude of the jail staff toward you and your client(s)?

No complaints about jail personnel/detention officers

Question: Briefly describe the conditions of the interview rooms.

Good (one response)

Smelly, disgusting, stuffy (sixteen responses)

No place to write (seven responses)

Conversations can be heard in other rooms and in the hallway (one response)

Cold (one response)

Fine (one response)

Unsafe (no place for attorney to exit if problem arises) (one response)

Question: Is there anything else you would like to add regarding the conditions of the Santa Cruz Main Jail?

“Non-contact” rooms are completely unacceptable - Can hear other interviews and conversations

Jail needs expanded mental health treatment teams

Four responses specifically requested expanded visiting hours for attorneys

Five responses complained about the slow response to “panic button” when interview is over.

Two responses compare other counties to Santa Cruz’ procedure of seeing inmates and the word “inefficient” was used to describe the Santa Cruz Main Jail process



[1] California Department of Corrections Inspection Report, November 17, 2005.

[2] See Appendix.