Sheriff’s Treatment Program


The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Treatment Program (STP) is designed to help inmates who are serving time in the Santa Barbara County Jail eliminate their drug and alcohol use, establish a foundation in recovery, and reduce their involvement with law enforcement. The STP Program accommodates inmates at different levels of sentencing.  The average sentence at the County Jail is 45 days, but sentences up to one year are not uncommon.  Because of this wide range of time served by specific inmates, the program is designed to address their individual needs with different treatment protocols; a 30-day inpatient treatment track, a 60-day inpatient treatment track, and a 90-day inpatient treatment track.  If an inmate is incarcerated for longer than 90 days, they may remain in treatment until their release.

The STP continuously operates at a capacity of 90 inmates.  The waiting list to get into the Male STP Units is running 2 to 3 months long with approximately 50 to 60 inmates on that list at any given time.  As of 2008, we have had over 6000 inmates participate in STP since the beginning; almost half the inmates have been women. These programs take place in several locations within the jail.


National and Regional Statistics state that 75 to 80% of all inmates incarcerated have committed their crime as a direct result of using chemical substances (Alcohol and or Drugs). These statistics also say the 75% of those inmates will be re-arrested the within the next two years for a similar offence…still as a result of Alcohol and/or Drug usage. We have reduced the recidivism rate for the inmates participating in STP to approximately 35 to 40%.


As a result of the hard work by the STP staff and of the inmates that have successfully recovered, we have over 4000 inmates in our communities, that are our next door neighbors and are contributing towards the growth of their families and our communities. These people are now upstanding citizens that you would never guess were at one time on a downward spiral of destruction to their families, themselves and our communities. Instead of drawing upon the resources of our society, they now contribute to the community, and those resources.


The Sheriff’s Treatment Program provides a very intensive Alcohol and Drug Treatment Program.    The STP program includes:


  • Intake and Assessment
  • Individual Counseling
  • Anger Management Classes
  • Relapse Prevention Groups
  • Client Support Groups
  • Introduction to the 12 Steps
  • Pre-Release Education
  • AA/NA Meetings
  • Aftercare/Follow up
  • Grief Recovery



There are four housing areas for STP; East-23 and IRC-300 for the Males and Females in the Main Jail; we also have a Male and Female Unit of STP on the Medium Security Facility (MSF), i.e. the old Honor Farm.


Inmates are supplied with reading material directly related to the treatment of Alcoholism and Addiction. We also supply each inmate in STP a STP Folder and a Journal with multiple material they will use will in our treatment program.


The costs associated for participating in STP (not including Staff time) run approximately $100.00 for each inmate. This includes the cost of the folders, handouts, and literature that is made available to them. This fee includes the cost of their participation in the monthly STP BBQ held at Newhouse III; this is our “Aftercare” Program.


One of the best parts of this program, is it is done at no cost to the taxpayers.  The program is paid for out of certain purchases made by inmates while they are in custody, which generates the Inmate Welfare Fund.  These funds primarily come from revenue off inmate commissary purchases and inmate use of the telephone.  


The California State Association of Counties awarded the Sheriff’s Treatment Program the prestigious Merit Award, in 2008.


              Provide and web link to:


Monthly STP Bar-B-Cue

The STP BBQ is held the second Tuesday of every month for all clients that have been involved in STP in the Santa Barbara County Jail, following release. This is a time for the people at this event to check in with each other and to check in with the STP Staff. The event is free to those attending, and that includes STP Staff, Sheriff Department employees, Probation Officers, Parole Officers, Lawyers and Judges, and most importantly the participants from STP. This is a time for everyone to see the rewards of living life “Clean and Sober” and having the opportunity of having their families back in their lives. Family members, including children, are welcomed to this event every month. The Sheriff’s Department has graciously paid for this event for the past 6 years (STP Staff had paid for this event themselves previously). We now average 150 people at the Monthly BBQ.


Success Stories

Janet’s Story


This story starts in my adolescence. Being a preacher’s child and the youngest of five, growing up in the south was interesting. There were many traditions and everything was to be paralleled with the “Word of God”. At the age of rebellion 13, I began smoking pot and cigarettes on a regular basis. It progressed into doing cocaine (snorting) at the age of sixteen, smoking crack at seventeen, then putting a needle in my arm at eighteen.


              I couldn't wait to turn eighteen to do what I wanted to do - no rules! I could finally be who I was without anyone telling me how to live my life. Yes! True freedom!!!


              Within six months of my eighteenth birthday I had been arrested - forgery, burglary, possession of guns.  My parents ran to save their little girl and paid hot shot lawyers to get me out of it. I had no idea what a mess I had created because I never paid for my crime. After two years of fighting my case I was released on supervised probation for five years. Learning how to “beat the system” I continued to smoke weed - after all what was wrong with weed? I would not mess with coke. I thought that weed maintenance was the answer. I got pregnant, got married, got divorced - got pregnant again - thinking that these were solutions to my happiness. I found myself sorely mistaken. I relapsed on cocaine. Saddened by my children being taken away, I thought a geographical change was the answer, yeah, that's it, a fresh start. So where did I go? Across the country to another state. Funny how much the most insane thinking seems so rational when one has lost their mind. I went there to get away from cocaine. I did well until I met others. We attract what we are. This geographical change started one night and I literally woke up four years later.


              I can tell you that my disease progressed along with my criminal expertise. I was arrested a total of thirty four times and was in and out of county jail. I had overdosed a few times and was brought back to life. One morning I put down the coke and bottle of pills and proclaimed “Today I quit - today I have to see my children.. I was done, the fun had left. So in my stolen vehicle and with my partner in crime we took off to California. I was wanted in that State and needed to get out of there.


              California was the answer . . . I got to see my kids, but with one problem. I had run out of money. Let me do this one job then we will be set. Okay I swear this one more time, became my new obsession. I was running bank scams and had quite a bit of equipment, under a “safe name”. I kept her clean until I got arrested with all my evidence. Here I was in county again under this alias. Trying to run again - they found out who I was and placed a “no bail” hold on me. Money couldn't get me out of this one. I hired the best attorney in the area and received a two year sentence at the lovely Chowchilla. Let me just say there is much more to this story but after I made it through prison it only made it easier to go back the second, third, fourth etc....times. I have been in California and from 2000 to 2007 I had been to prison eight times.


              My life continued to spiral out of control and once again running from the cops trying to feed my addiction and trying to follow what my heart wanted, was too much because I was so scattered the only release I was given was by fading into the black. I had traded addictions from cocaine to heroine. I had only been out two weeks and my plan was to go to another state to see my daughters. It was my daughter’s birthday and she was turning 15. In September of 2006, I woke up in my dirty dive of a motel room. I decided to take my morning fix and that is all I remember.

I woke up in the hospital. I had been medically dead. I don't know exactly what went wrong that morning but when I physically died, I died spiritually and emotionally as well. To think my daughter would have the memory of her mother dying on her birthday was too sad to imagine. I got to recover at the luxurious Santa Barbara County jail. I was placed in the “Sheriff’s Treatment Program”, a recovery pod designed for those wanting answers of how change happens. Before I was able to hear anything from these people, I really had to come to the Text Box: Photo Courtesy of Ian Vorster conclusion that I had nothing left. I had no more ideas and no more places to run. I had been kicked out of one State and the other State couldn't handle me. My best friend and lover decided it was for the best that we split up, She was all I had left that I knew I could count on. I knew in my core that we would never break up. I believed in one thing and that was in forever with her.



              Now I realize that all illusions and all ideas born out of self had to be shattered. I could not see that during this grieving time though. Wow the pain of love, pride and ego all being burned out of you is what it took for me. I had no where else to go but up. I found truth in what was being taught to me here behind these grey walls. I began to hear with my heart. I began to believe that there may be a life for me in this thing called recovery. Slowly and painstakingly       I began to see the miracles in my life unfold. I began to believe what they told me in S.T.P. He told me that this creator, whoever he/she may be, really loves me and that I couldn't even imagine how much. Just a little faith blossomed in me. I was released into Casa Serena and there I was given so very much. A solid foundation of this recovery was born out of S.T.P. The continual support that I receive comes from all that believe in me. I decided to take someone else's direction, someone that new more then I did and had a life to show for it. After all, my best thinking kept me incarcerated for over half my life. By doing what is suggested in the 12 steps of recovery, let me tell you how my life is different.


              The promises for me have come true. My creator has such a sense of humor! My first job I was given was as a waitress. Within two weeks the manager said they wanted to talk to me in the office. Scared, I went in thinking, “God, they found out about my record and they are going to fire me.”


To my surprise they offered me a management position working in the accounting office, counting cash, and in control of six major restaurants, doing their books!! Are you nuts? YOU want ME to count your cash and process all the credit card information, and do payroll? I humbly accepted the position and I learned much restraint there. I did what I was supposed to. My new love affair with God began to really blossom. I met my partner who is just that, a partner that I can trust. I got a great apartment and I was reunited with my daughters for good. So this was healing? I like it - give me more of it. Everyday I am blessed, I just look at my partner, my children, kiss the puppy. I can take a glance in the mirror and instantly be in awe of the blessings that have been just waiting on me to receive them. We are moving soon into a beautiful home and for the first time in my life I want to live more than I want to die.

The world is ours. All things are possible if you just believe and continue to do the next right thing.


              If you are reading this you need to know that you are reading about a miracle. If you’re fighting addiction you should know I thought that my destiny was to be imprisoned for life. I couldn't believe in anything other than what I had known. I am here to tell you if you’re tired of hurting. There is life. If you just let us love you until you can love yourself - great things will begin to transpire in your life. Only until I surrendered, ran out of ideas, and began to just try what was being suggested, my life became a new one. Recovery works. It started in S.T.P. It started with one addict talking to another. I had no idea what was in store, or still remains in store for my life, but I do know that from the ashes I was left and then something bigger intervened. I pray that you find some hope in my story. Just give it a year, and your life will change. Let me add that my record was expunged I am off all supervision; I feel that I have the American dream. The obsession to use has been lifted - the obsession to cut corners and get something for nothing has been removed. That is a miracle in itself. So know there are those who don't even know you who believe in you.


Just believe.





Background and History of STP


John Dafoe (then Chief Deputy of Custody Operations) wanted to establish a permanent drug and alcohol treatment program, with administrative and clinical personnel provided by the Sheriff’s Department in 1995. Several of those who worked in Custody Operations at that time believed that we needed to do something different with the inmates that had a problem with alcohol and drugs


In 1996 the Sheriff’s Treatment Program (STP) came into existence. It started off in the Male Honor Farm. This intensive inpatient program started as a twenty bed facility, with an adjacent counseling room, and a group room for education and group counseling.


In March of 1998, STP opened a new addition for the male population in the Main Jail.  East 23 was designated as a Drug and Alcohol Treatment Tank.  Twenty more beds were made available for male inmates requesting drug and alcohol counseling.  This innovative program mirrored the STP program that was at the male Honor Farm.


A similar program for female inmates began in December 1997.  A female counselor was hired to provide services to the female inmate population at La Morada, the Female Honor Farm.  Then, ten female inmates began receiving individual counseling on a weekly basis.  In addition, all females participating in the program attended 12 Step meetings, Parenting Classes, and Drug and Alcohol Education.  (This program has since been transferred to the Medium Security Facility at the Calle Real campus)


In August of 1999, the STP opened a 12 bed facility for Alcohol and Drug Treatment for female inmates incarcerated in the Main Jail.  At this time, all services were standardized for both populations.  Women’s Basement Dorm Three was designated as the STP dorm.  During 2006, the Female Main Jail treatment population was moved into the IRC 300 unit, which has increased the female population eligible to participate in STP in the Main Jail, from 12 to 32 inmates.  This has allowed the program to provide individual counseling to all female inmates and to provide services for women in the Main Jail regardless of their security status or housing facility.


Unfortunately, inmates may be on the waiting list to participate in STP for two to three months. The waiting list often includes fifty to sixty inmates at any one time.  The long waiting list is due to the limit of STP staff available and the current housing demands of the older designed Santa Barbara County Jail.


The Program is funded from the Inmate Welfare Fund supplemented by a grant from the County of Santa Barbara Drug/Alcohol and Mental Health Services.   Since we are an official County Alcohol and Drug Provider, we are governed by the same rules of confidentiality and clinical case files.


Since it’s inception in 1996, 3,043 male inmates have participated in the Sheriff’s Treatment Program of which 1,689 have completed.  During this same period, 3,080 female inmates have also participated, and of those 1,443 have completed the program. (Totals provided are effective through November 2008).



National and local recidivism rates have held steady at 65 to 70 percent.  This means that of the current inmate population, 65 to 70 percent of these inmates will return to custody on violations or new charges within two years.  However, the recidivism rate for male STP graduates is 38.8% for the first year after release, and 54.0% after two years.  For the female graduates, 40.3% will return to custody during the first year, and 57.8% after two years.  This speaks to the success of the program. 


When considering the impact of recidivism, if an individual does not return to custody:

  • They have not committed another crime, of which some innocent person is a victim (Or consider that it was probably multiple crimes against multiple victims),
  • Those crimes did not have to be investigated by the local police or Sheriff,
  • The innocent citizen did not have to pay to recover their lost property, or pay an increased cost of insurance,
  • Some business did not have to pass their loss on to a paying consumer…you!
  • The Courts, District Attorney, and Public Defender were not tasked to handle their case or cases during their court process,
  • A jail bed was not filled with this individual while they awaited trial, and served their eventual conviction,
  • During their jail time, that the taxpayers did not have to pay for ongoing, and often previously neglected medical and dental care,
  • Their dependant family members were not placed on a Social Service program that then provided their rent, food, medical care, or other means of support (demanding further tax revenue to provide for them).


The major reduction in the rate of re-arrest has a significant impact on jail overcrowding, the cost of the justice system, and the quality of life to our communities. 


The Drug and Alcohol Counselors of the Sheriff’s Treatment Program are excited to invest in a safer community, and to rebuilding lives. 


Would you like to help?


There are many ways you can help with one or more programs that help reintegrate inmates into society within the jail.  Below are some ways you can choose to give directly.  We will accept any amount.  Complete the donation form for a cash gift. 


If you want to support a specific Program or fundtion, we have listed some of those below, there are some listed items that can help you decide


**The County may accept donations as charitable contributions under Internal Revenue Code Section 170(c)(1). Santa Barbara County Tax ID#95-6002833

 All donations will be used for the purpose given**



Cash Gifts (by Program type)

(Based upon 2008-2009 costs)


Sheriff’s Treatment Program


  • Sponsor the Materials for one or more inmates in the Sheriff’s Treatment Program (STP): $100.00 per person.
  • Sponsor an Inmate in the Sheriff’s Treatment Program (Services and Staff): $ 1,250 per person-60 day program, or $  22 per day.
  • Sponsor the STP Bar-B-Cue for a month:                                                         $ 250.00 per month.




Education Programming

Helen Pedotti Learning Center


  • Sponsor a G.E.D Learning Module                              $ 75 per student (Includes Five Series GED Tests)
  • Replace a Laptop Computer                                 $ 1,400 per student
  • Provide Software for one student work station   $1,246 per workstation





Vocational Program


  • Sponsor a SafeServ Learning Module                                            $ 150 per student (Includes text book)
  • Sponsor one Work Certificate                                                 $ 75 per student


Religious Program



  • Purchase a bible or other doctrinal book
  • Purchase a set of greeting cards for inmates to send to family (Christmas, Birthdays, Anniversary)
  • Reading glasses of an inmate


 Other Program Costs


  • Indigent Services – Bus ticket home (Santa Barbara to Santa Maria) $ 25 per ticket home
  • Inmate Escort cost per class hour                                                       $ 51 per class hour


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