The May 22 edition of The Star carried a long article regarding the overcrowded Ventura County jails. On April 11, The Star ran an article on the same issue, in which Sheriff Bob Brooks expressed his concerns about the overcrowded jail situation and the legal ramifications that could result from the situation.
In the April article, Brooks indicated an overcrowding of almost 200 inmates; in the May article, Sheriff’s Cmdr. Brent Morris indicated an average of 1,750 inmates are housed in the two county facilities, with the two having a combined capacity of 1,492 — a difference of 258. So both men were close in their estimates.
Both articles indicated the possibility of early release dates for inmates, more referrals to work furlough, and/or more paroling of those inmates considered low-risk.
This didn’t happen overnight. The powers that be had to see this coming. So please, help me understand why the Honor Farm was turned over to a nonprofit organization to dump funds into it and that right now seems to be doing more property management than providing services.
Surely the county could have spent far less money on renovating the Honor Farm to reduce the overcrowding than the $89.5 million proposed to add 656 beds at the Todd Road facility or the $2 billion that Brooks indicated was needed to build enough cells. And then we have to add operating costs on top of that!
According to the May 22 article, the powers that be are reluctant to take state money cause of the strings attached — accepting state inmates. So where is all of this money going to come from? Do you want to take a guess?
It would be more cost effective to compensate HELP of Ojai for money spent to date and take back the Honor Farm. That would solve the immediate need of providing space for between 200 and 300, and HELP of Ojai could get back to the business of providing services.
— Ed Martel, Ojai