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Santa Barbara County Grand Jury report says staffing shortages hurting healthcare in jails

Photo by Tim Hufner/Unsplash

Report claims staff shortages may mean delayed care. It also says there is a lack of 24/7 mental health care staffing.

A new Santa Barbara County Grand Jury report says staffing shortages are impacting the quality of health care for county jail inmates.

A company called “Wellpath” provides health care services for Santa Barbara County Jail inmates. The Grand Jury report says the company has made a number of significant improvements in care, but that there are key issues which need to be addressed.

It says there are staffing shortages which could mean delayed care at times. It also claims there is a shortage of 24/7 mental health care providers at both the main jail and the new facility in Santa Maria.

The Grand Jury report also calls on the Sheriff’s Office to do a better job of monitoring Wellpath’s staffing.

The company’s contract is up for renewal.

The report is recommending that the Sheriff’s Office include more healthcare positions and increase funding to better attract and retain workers. It also calls on the county to expand training for custody deputies to better identify mental health issues among inmates.


Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.