Murray v. County of Santa Barbara
Murray v. County of Santa Barbara
On behalf of the hundreds of people incarcerated in Santa Barbara County Jail, Disability Rights California, Prison Law Office, and King & Spalding LLP have reached a groundbreaking settlement with Santa Barbara County and the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office in a class action lawsuit that seeks to address the dangerous and unconstitutional conditions at the jail.
Murray et al. v. County of Santa Barbara et al.
King & Spalding (pro bono counsel)
Prison Law Office
Law Office of Aaron J. Fischer
Class Counsel Letter on Urgent Need to Protect Class Members at High-Risk of COVID-19 Illness - 6/19/20
Class Counsel Letter Santa Barbara Courts, District Attorney, and Sheriff re: Reducing Jail Population to Protect People from COVID-19 Pandemic – 4/1/20
Class Counsel Letter to County re: Urgent Need for Action at Jail in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic - 03/18/20
Significant Court Documents
Santa Barbara County Expert Consultant Reports on Jail Conditions
Assessment of Environmental Health and Safety Operations, Santa Barbara County Jail, Harry E. Grenawitzke, MPH, DAAS (pdf)
Review of Santa Barbara County Jail Medical Services - Scott A. Allen M.D. (pdf)
Review of Mental Health Services Currently Provided by the Santa Barbara County Jail System - Roberta Stellman, M.D., DABPN (pdf)
Assessment of Custody Operations-Santa Barbara County Jail System - Margo L. Frasier, J.D., C.P.O. (pdf)
ADA-Disability Self-Evaluation and Transition Plan – Vanir Construction Management, Inc. (pdf)
Clay Murray is a 67 year old U.S. Army veteran with significant disabilities and medical conditions, including degenerative joint disease. He uses a wheelchair to get around. Mr. Murray has post-traumatic stress disorder and related mental health needs. While in custody at Santa Barbara County Jail, Mr. Murray has requested but received no meaningful treatment to help him manage his PTSD symptoms. Mr. Because he uses a wheelchair and is housed in the jail’s designated unit for prisoners with chronic medical conditions, he is not permitted to participate in work and self-improvement programs at the jail. He has also faced severe risks due to the lack of medical care. In one instance, he was denied his inhaler despite a significant respiratory condition. He went without treatment for an extended period, until another prisoner summoned medical help after finding Mr. Murray struggling to breathe on the ground below his bunk.
David Franco is 25 years old and has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. When he arrived he arrived at the Santa Barbara County Jail, Mr. Franco was denied prescribed psychiatric medications that he had been taken prior to his arrest for several days. His condition worsened, with staff documenting his reports that “I haven’t slept for like 4 days … I feel like my heart is going to explode … I need something for this anxiety – it’s making me crazy.” A few days later, Mr. Franco attempted suicide by cutting his wrist.
Shareen Winkle is 31 years old and has been diagnosed with mental illness, including bipolar disorder. The Santa Barbara County Jail has repeatedly placed Ms. Winkle in solitary confinement for long periods based on such infractions as not being prepared to exchange her bedsheets on laundry day and not wearing her shirt properly. Ms. Winkle’s mental health has deteriorated significantly during her extended stays in solitary confinement, where she has suffered multiple panic attacks.
Maria Tracy is 29 years old and has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and has a serious ophthalmological medical condition. During her booking at Santa Barbara County Jail, Ms. Tracy reported she had been to the hospital for an eye infection one week earlier and was receiving prescription eye drops. When the jail failed to continue the treatment, she submitted several requests for health care noting that the infection was getting worse, that the entire right side of her face was numb, and that she could not see out of her right eye. She ultimately needed to be readmitted to the hospital for four more days. Ms. Tracy fears that her eyes have suffered permanent damage based on the long break in treatment at the jail.
Eric Brown is 38 years old and has been diagnosed with chronic lower back pain, anxiety, and depression. Mr. Brown also uses a wheelchair to get around. Mr. Brown has been housed in inaccessible housing units at Santa Barbara County Jail. He has struggled to use the toilet, shower without pain, and get on and off the bus to go to court. Because the Santa Barbara County Jail is filled with barriers for people with mobility disabilities, Mr. Brown has been forced to hobble on his own through doors too narrow to fit his wheelchair.
Prisoners file federal class action lawsuit against Santa Barbara County (pdf)
Prisioneros entablan una demanda colectiva federal contra el Condado de Santa Bárbara
- County Jail battles COVID-19 outbreak that started in an area a recent lawsuit settlement will shut down for good - Santa Maria Sun 02/10/2021
- ‘Extreme Isolation Cells’ Banned from Santa Barbara County Jail - Santa Barbara Independent 07/21/20
- Could Reducing Santa Barbara Jail Population Be Historic and Permanent? - Santa Barbara Independent 07/21/20
- Settlement reached in county jail conditions lawsuit - Noozhawk Santa Maria Sun 07/22/20
- Settlement Reached in Class-Action Lawsuit Over Santa Barbara County Jail Conditions - Noozhawk Santa Barbara 07/20/20
- Litigators write letter responding to recent Santa Barbara County Jail staff COVID-19 cases - New Times 06/19/20
- While Lompoc's prison deals with the county's worst COVID-19 outbreak, the county jail remains relatively unscathed, but some warn it may be next - Santa Maria Sun 04/15/20
- Watchdog Organization Calls for Santa Barbara County Jail to Release Inmates - Santa Barbara Independent 03/25/20
- Inmate dies in Santa Barbara County Jail - Santa Maria Sun 01/16/19
- Class Certification Granted in Santa Barbara County Jail Lawsuit, Santa Maria Sun, 6/7/18
- Outside expert health care reports echo previous investigation into Santa Barbara County Jail conditions, Santa Maria Sun, 3/14/2018
- Damning Report Made on Santa Barbara County Jail, Santa Barbara Independent, 3/13/2018
- Scrutiny Increases After Inmate Dies in County Jail, Santa Barbara Independent, 3/5/2018
- Lawsuit seeks court-ordered reforms for treatment of inmates in Santa Barbara County Jail, Santa Maria Sun, 12/20/17
- Disabled Prisoners Sue Over Santa Barbara County Jail Conditions, Rewire, 12/19/17
- ‘Inhumane’ Conditions at Santa Barbara County Jail?, Santa Barbara Independent, 12/14/17
- Federal Class Action Lawsuit Seeks Santa Barbara County Jail Changes, Noozhawk, 12/11/17