Santa Barbara County is looking at whether it should reopen its North County jail facility 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Because of the tight budget situation, during the 2011-2012 fiscal year, the County Sheriff’s Department reduced its Santa Maria Jail to part time operations.
The jail now only accepts prisoners from 7 p.m., to 4 a.m., which means those arrested other times of the day have to be drive to the Main Jail, in Santa Barbara, It can take the officers involved off the street for two to three hours.
The Sheriff’s Department is asking County Supervisors for extra funding to ramp up the North County Jail facility to full time operations for the next few years, until the County’s new jail being built in Santa Maria opens in 2017.
The proposal being considered by the board tomorrow calls for dipping into strategic reserves, and spending nearly $170,000 during the rest of this fiscal year to cover overtime to have a team of officers to transport prisoners to the main jail.
If the plan is approved, the cost would grow to nearly $390,000 next fiscal year, to reopen the facility full time.