Thursday, June 19, 2014
(Santa Cruz County) Grand Jury Report Highlights Overcrowding at Santa Cruz Main Jail
June 18, 2014
Santa Cruz Indymedia
By Santa Cruz Progressive Newswire
On June 17 the Santa Cruz County Grand Jury released the report "Main Jail Inspection Report: No Room at the Inn," which highlights issues of overcrowding at the Santa Cruz Main Jail. The report found that issues that need improving include, "overcrowded housing, unsafe security conditions, and inadequate staffing.”
During the Grand Jury inspections it was noted that the housing unit for shortterm, minimum security inmates and inmates awaiting arraignment was disproportionately overcrowded compared to other housing units. According to the Grand Jury report, in 2013, the Main Jail’s monthly number of inmates was always over capacity, ranging from a low of 29 to a high of 100 inmates.
During one Grand Jury visit to the Main Jail, the Grand Jury observed that a general population housing unit designed for 18 inmates contained 40 inmates, some of whom were sleeping on the day room floor in temporary plastic beds referred to as “boats".
The Grand Jury report also noted that instances of inadequate oversight of inmates at the jail were observed during the inspections: a video monitor's view was obstructed, and an issue was observed with Central Control, which monitors most of the jail by video surveillance and also controls all entries and exits. The Grand Jury visited Central Control twice during the day shift and on one of those occasions noted that only one officer was staffing it.
This report on overcrowding at the Main Jail follows two other Grand Jury reports released this year concerning the County Jail System: "Five Deaths in Santa Cruz" and "Juvenile Hall Meal Preparation Program" (see Santa Cruz Grand Jury Releases Reports on Jail Deaths and Juvenile Hall Meals http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/05/19/18755964.php ).