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Newly built Northern Branch Jail Facility to house inmates in late December


SANTA MARIA, Calif. – The Northern Santa Barbara County Jail is now open near Santa Maria.

" ... to provide a better designed and better constructed facility that will give
people who come into a custody The opportunity the tool in the direction of
the inspiration to do better," said sheriff Bill Brown of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office.

Custody Deputies will supervise inmates twenty-four hours a day.

"The other thing I’m excited about is this new commitment to looking at
those incarcerated as we still have hope for them. As a sheriff said
unfortunately people commit crimes and we got a lock them up. But there’s
this whole thing about hope and this isn’t the end of line for them," said Santa Barbara County District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino.

This jail facility has the capacity to house up to 376 inmates.

"This is an opportunity that can change the lives of those incarcerated … by providing opportunities to learn more
about themselves … understand the possibilities that exist for them …
provide additional training … and reduce recidivism," said mayor Genelle Osborne of the City of Lompoc.

The Sheriff's office says this jail was designed to increase safety for inmates, staff and

"My hope is that people who enter this facility will do so recognizing that
we’re running that facility in such away that they can design and chart the
course for the rest of their life … will help them get there they need to
do it but will help provide them with the tools," said Brown.

It will also increase the interactions between inmates and staff for more "prosocial influence and supervision."

The property at 2301 Black Road, just outside the Santa Maria City limits was acquired by the county in 2008.

The total estimated cost of the facility stands at about $120 million. $80 million is paid by grants from the State of California. The county is responsible for the remaining project cost.

The facility is rated by the Board of State and Community Corrections to house 344 inmates with an additional 32 specialty medical and mental health use beds.

The jail also has an open intake area in which offenders are seated in an open waiting area.

The new jail facility has a medical clinic area which has hospital beds which were designed to decrease outpatient hospital visits for incarcerated inmates.

The Northern Branch Jail has its own dedicated laundry area, full-service kitchen and intake and release areas which allow it to function as a standalone jail facility.

The addition of this facility will decrease jail booking times for local law enforcement agencies.

It will also allow law enforcement to return to patrol their communities more quickly enhancing public safety.

This jail facility is set to start housing inmates in late December 2021.

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Patricia Martellotti

Patricia Martellotti is a reporter for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Patricia, click here.

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