Grand Jury finds Juvenile Offenders drop while Adult Detention Facility is Overcrowded

Annual Detention Report

The 2017-2018 Ventura County Grand Jury investigated the conditions and management of all the detention facilities in Ventura County.

The Grand Jury concluded that due to a decrease in juvenile crime over several years, both the state- and county-run juvenile facilities have underutilized space, with hundreds of unfilled beds.

The Grand Jury also concluded that despite a major lawsuit against the Division of Juvenile Justice, the state-run Ventura Youth Correctional Facility has not met and/or maintained goals set by the resulting consent decree. It continues to fall short of minimum standards for cleanliness, repair, and safety.

The Grand Jury concluded that in stark contrast to the underutilized space at the juvenile facilities, the adult facilities (Pre-Trial Detention Facility and Todd Road Jail) remain significantly overcrowded. A Todd Road Jail expansion is on track to be completed in 2020. It is designed to add 64 beds for chronically and mentally ill inmates. While this will ease overcrowding, the $61-million expansion will serve only a small fraction of mentally ill inmates when completed.

The Grand Jury concluded that County jails and holding facilities are generally in good order, with only two departments showing cause for concern: the Santa Paula Police Department and the Port Hueneme Police Department. Through Measure T, Santa Paula has now garnered funding to retrofit and expand its holding facility. However, Port Hueneme continues to operate its facility short-staffed, and the holding cell is in need of repair.

The Grand Jury concluded that Ventura County Probation Agency has reduced services to crime victims over the last few years, and the District Attorney’s office does not provide comparable services to all crime victims. The Grand Jury also concluded that compliance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act is important for detention facilities in order to avoid liability and increase grant funding opportunities.

The public is invited to review the entire report. It can be accessed at www.ventura.org/grand-jury; click on the Annual Reports tab and consult “Fiscal Year 2017-2018.”


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