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New Grand Jury report finds Santa Barbara Main Jail outdated, inefficient

A newly published report by the Santa Barbara County Grand Jury found the Santa Barbara main jail to be an outdated and inadequate facility.

The report partly blames new state regulations, years of political disagreement and overcrowding. Although a new jail facility will be built in north Santa Barbara County, the Main Jail will have to continue utilizing all of its resources and space.

Making matters worse is the inability to find funding to update the Main Jail. According to the report, “$15 million would be needed over the next 10 years to correct, repair or replace failing components of the physical plant that comprise the jail complex.”

The report says the Main Jail is in “failure mode.” It needs major upgrades to:

Roof systems Plumbing and sewer systems that are over 60 years old Compliance with the current seismic standards Compliance with ADA regulations The Medium Security Facility, which is the oldest and most dilapidated building in the complex.

Estimating budget shortfalls over the next few years, the report offers different options that could deliver the much-needed funds including:

Certificates of Participation for capital improvements General Obligation Bonds Passing new tax initiatives and use of the Strategic Reserve

To read the full Grand Jury report, click here.

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