Board of Supervisors Meeting – Improving Jail Medical Care

On Tuesday, September 13, 2016, Sin Barras organizers went to the Board of Supervisors meeting to comment publicly on the contract renewal with for-profit correctional medical service provider California Forensic Medical Group (CFMG). We achieved several successes, including:

  • The Board of Supervisors supports the need to receive feedback from people in jail about medical services
  • The Sheriff is interested in working with us to get feedback from people in jail
  • CFMG personnel showed interest in speaking to us about improving their operations
  • Other community members at the Board meeting for other reasons expressed their support
  • An article about our appearance was published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel

Bottomline: We are against having a private contractor like CFMG provide medical services at the jail; however, we cannot let another person die in jail of neglect, or allow needless suffering to continue to happen because of inadequate care. If we have to work with CFMG and the Sheriff to make sure of this, then we will.


Did you know that:

While improvements have been made since the last tragic death in our jails, effective oversight of medical care is still a major issue. The current system lacks transparency and disempowers patients. Sin Barras, a local Santa Cruz activist group, invites you to show your support for humane treatment of imprisoned people by:

  • Asking the Board of Supervisors and Sheriff’s Office to implement an independent medical feedback tool actively seeking input and suggestions from people in custody about the medical care they receive.
  • Sharing your own or a loved one’s story of medical care in our jails.
  • Sharing your ideas for solutions.

Show your support for treating people in custody as human beings who do not deserve to have their health damaged due to inadequate medical care by:

  • Attending the September 13 Board of Supervisors meeting and speaking during public comment
  • Adding a comment to the Public Discussion online about this agenda item
  • Contacting the Board of Supervisors or Sheriff Jim Hart (please consider copying us at
  • Writing a Letter to the Editor
  • Emailing (we will respect your privacy and only share your personal story if you specifically give us permission)
  • Friending Sin Barras on Facebook

This contract renewal set to happen on September 13th is an excellent opportunity to put the spotlight on the need for change to protect those in custody, but it is not the end of the line; this is an ongoing issue. The community must hold the government accountable for the health and safety of people in custody.

Here is a list of resources to help you to take action:


Letter Concerning CFMG Contract

The poor quality of medical care for incarcerated people at the local jail remains an ongoing concern. Sin Barras believes that the County Health Services Agency should resume responsibility for jail medical care; outsourcing this essential service in 2012 has cut costs but hurt these people. Short of that, the 2016 renewal of the contract with the for­ profit medical provider CFMG (California Forensic Medical Group) is an opportunity to achieve better medical outcomes for these individuals. It is imperative not to miss this opportunity. The Civil Grand Jury issued three special reports since CFMG’s takeover of jail medical care recommending changes to the jail’s medical procedures that would save lives, but most of these changes continue to be rejected by the Sheriff’s Department. The Sheriff’s Department states that the safety of those in the jail is their highest priority, but in the past four years, while under contract with CFMG, multiple preventable deaths have occurred in the jail that can be described as “murders by negligence.” Last year, 23­year­old Krista DeLuca died in the county’s care from dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and pneumonia as she was detoxing from opiates. These withdrawal symptoms are not fatal in circumstances where patients receive proper medical attention. It was inadequate care that killed Krista DeLuca, not her opiate addiction. From the Grand Jury Report of June 8th, 2016: “The Grand Jury strenuously reasserts that significant revisions must be made to existing jail policies and procedures and to the contract with the medical services provider to prevent future deaths.” We ask that the Board of Supervisors and the Sheriff’s Department take action to implement the Grand Jury’s Recommendations listed below:
  • Review the existing contract and evaluate the performance of CFMG from 2012­2016 with the assistance of qualified medical personnel (Recommendation 3)
  • In the new contract:
    • Provide independent oversight of CFMG and their contract by medically qualified professionals (Recommendation 2)
    • Allow an independently retained medical provider to escalate medical care under life ­threatening emergency circumstances (Recommendation 4)
    • Delete the requirement that CFMG pay up to $15,000 per imprisoned person for transfer to hospital care from the contract (Recommendation 5)
    • Require that CFGM obtain and maintain accreditation from the California Medical Association­ Institute for Medical Quality for adult detention facilities (Recommendation 7)
  • Require the Sheriff­- Coroner to make a comprehensive report of every jail death available to the public (Recommendation 1)
  • Implement recommendations to ensure that those who are incarcerated and detoxing from opiates are provided proper medical care, including:
    • Having the Health Services Agency determine compliance with the Detoxification Treatment requirements of Title 15, Section 1213 (Recommendation 6)
    • Use an objective measurement of opiate detoxification stages (Recommendation 8)
    • Revise policies for procedures and symptoms necessitating immediate transfer to a hospital or other medical facility (Recommendation 9)
    • Establish clear guidelines for when those incarcerated should be given a higher level of care (Recommendation 10)
    • Revise the policies and procedures for Detoxification of Chemically Dependent incarcerated individuals to meet or exceed federal guidelines (Recommendation 11)
We have the power to stop preventable deaths from happening by working together to enact the changes recommended by the Grand Jury and by ensuring that the new standards are followed, subject to community oversight. It is our collective responsibility to ensure the safety of incarcerated people, and we have not yet done so. In addition, Sin Barras is aware that there are many issues with imprisoned people having access to proper care, such as being provided timely access to physicians or medication they need. Withholding adequate medical care should not be part of the punishment of being incarcerated. We urge the Board and the Sheriff’s Department to ensure access to adequate and timely medical care. We request that the approval of the new contract be part of the regular agenda and open for public comment during the Sept 13th meeting of the Board of Supervisors.
Sin Barras

Watsonville Brown Beret Arrested and Release at Trump Protest

Sin Barras stands in solidarity with our comrade Manny from the Watsonville Brown Berets who was peacefully demonstrating at a Dump Trump rally where he was brutally arrested by cops this past Friday in Burlingame, Ca. He is currently being held in the San Mateo County jail with bail set at 50K. The police are clearly not on the side of communities struggling against oppression and Manny’s arrest demonstrates that people of color are targeted when they show up strong, resolute in voicing their discontentment with this very corrupt, racist unjust system. The struggle will continue and our voices will be heard! Strength to you Manny and power to those on the front lines, resisting and showing up for change! A legal fund is in the works and we will update you.

Free Manny GoFundMe

Sin Barras Meetings Now Held at Subrosa!

Join us every Monday at 7:15PM at Subrosa Community Space. 703 Pacific Ave Santa Cruz, CA 95060.

We will discuss ways that Sin Barras can support local and state-wide abolitionist campaigns and how we can further support loved ones inside and their families. We will also discuss what’s going right here in Santa Cruz County.

So please, bring your ideas and your desire to end the prison industrial complex!

Film Screening of Visions of Abolition


Sin Barras presents a film screening of…

Visions of Abolition: From Critical Resistance to a New Way of Life

Thursday March 31, 2016 at 7PM, 01 Center St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

This documentary was designed as a teaching tool to expand knowledge about the history of the prison industrial complex and the prison abolition movement in the United States.

Part I “Breaking down the Prison Industrial Complex” provides a critical exposé of the mass incarceration, the war on drugs, and the connections between slavery, capitalism and the prison industrial complex (39 mins.)

Break: 5 minutes

Part II “Abolition: Past, Present & Future” moves beyond criticism, and offers an example of prison abolition in practice (48 mins).

This film features Angela Y. Davis, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Susan Burton, Melissa Burch, Dylan Rodriguez, and Andrea Smith.

There will be a discussion following the screening.

This event is FREE but donations are accepted. The Louden Nelson Community Center is wheelchair accessible.

Film Content/Trigger Warnings: State-sanctioned police violence, images of various individuals getting arrested, mentions of physical and sexual assault.

No Community Policing in Santa Cruz!

The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s office is having a community event tomorrow called “Sheriff Hart Task Force on 21st Century Policing.” They’re going to sell and rebrand the police department to the public by presenting “community policing” as their new strategy. Please show up and tell them what “community policing” is really about. (More money for police officers, new ways to legitimatize police in our communities, deterring solution-orientated alternatives to police and incarceration, increasing our reliance on police, another way for police to gain information and ultimately control our communities). It’ll be held tomorrow, Thursday January 21st, 2016 at 10AM at the Sheriff’s Office Community Room, 5200 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz in Live Oak. It will be for an hour. Please share this widely.

Sin Barras is still alive!

Sin Barras is in the midst of a transition due to key organizers leaving Santa Cruz. We’re a smaller group now but we are still alive. We’re looking for organizers with passion and new ideas. We want to create strong and healthy communities that make correctional institutions obsolete. We’re also interested in growing our network here in Santa Cruz and beyond. We invite you to come to a meeting if you are interested in working with prison abolitionists. Meetings happen at 7PM on Wednesdays. Please email us at for location address.


Please click here to read letters from women inside advocating that Blaine Street remain open.

And here to read a letter from Alcance of the Community Action Board advocating that a woman in Blaine be released rather than moved to the maximum security Water St. jail.

Sheriff Hart has asked people with opinions on the future of Blaine Street Women’s Jail to email Chief Deputy Craig Wilson at


Temporary closure considered for Blaine Street Women’s Jail

SANTA CRUZ >> Dwindling numbers of inmates in recent years at Blaine Street Women’s Jail in Santa Cruz means the lockup could be closed temporarily and its women sent to the Main Jail, Sheriff’s Office leaders said this week.

Sheriff Jim Hart said a decision has not been made but said he wants to talk to stakeholders about the advantages and disadvantages. Blaine Street, a minimum security facility opened in 1984, has a rated capacity of 32 inmates. This week it held about four.

In the past six months, it has held no more than 10 inmates, Hart said. In 2013, the County Jail — which includes the Main Jail, Blaine Street and Rountree Detention Center — was filled past its capacity nearly every day.

“The justice system and the correctional system is not the same as it was a few years ago. That forces us to look at all of our options when we’re using our limited dollars,” he said. (more…)