Jail / Care: Amplifying Santa Cruz Community Voices on Health & Incarceration

The project is a pilot phase of a larger project whose goal is to investigate the conditions of health care in the Santa Cruz County jails. After a series of preventable deaths in the local jail, concern has arisen in the community regarding the quality and accessibility of health care in Santa Cruz jails. This project will document health care in the Santa Cruz jail, using the methodologies and perspectives of research team members in the Sociology, Film and Digital Media, and Psychology departments, as well as community organization Sin Barras. Sin Barras is a group formed in 2012 in Santa Cruz, CA comprised of individuals dedicated to prison abolition. Sin Barras’ mission is to advocate for meaningful alternatives to incarceration, amplify voices from inside jails and prisons, and connect with local, statewide, national, and international struggles against prisons, with the ultimate goal of abolishing the prison industrial-complex.

The intended outcome of this project is to generate a compelling and informative account of health care in the Santa Cruz jails that centers the experiences of those receiving it, with the ultimate goals of informing the public, making policy recommendations, and amplifying the voices of the formerly incarcerated community. The project is a pilot that will inform the later stages of this project.

The preliminary study (funded by the Blum Center) involved 14 semi-structured interviews with formerly incarcerated people and service providers in community health agencies (call for participation). Interviews with formerly incarcerated people focused on their experiences receiving health care in the local jail, and future interviews with health care providers will focus on their observations about the health needs of formerly incarcerated patients they serve and the continuity of care across the systems available to them. These interviews are conducted by the student co-investigator and audio recorded (with informed consent), yielding recordings to be used in an interactive multimedia presentation during the next stages of the project.

Over summer 2019, researchers plan to convene an advisory panel and conduct additional interviews. By fall 2019, researchers plan to code and analyze interview data and develop a prototype for an interactive, online documentary that will share information about the conditions of healthcare in our local jail with the Santa Cruz community.

If you are interested in serving on the advisory panel to the project: We are looking for people directly impacted by this issue (i.e. people who have been incarcerated in the Santa Cruz jail and/or those with a loved one incarcerated in the Santa Cruz jail). The advisory panel will meet occasionally with the research team and provide their input to ensure the project is aligned with the values, goals, and priorities of the people most affected.

If you are interested in being interviewed for this project: We are looking to conduct a total of approximately 20 interviews with people who have recently been incarcerated in the Santa Cruz jail, and with health care providers who work in the jail and/or with criminal justice system-impacted populations (e.g. the homeless population). Interviews will last approximately one hour. Interviewees will be compensated $20 for their time.

If you are interested in participating in the study as an interviewee or an advisory board member, please contact the study coordinator, Roxy Davis, at roxywdavis@ucsc.edu or (831) 222-0289.


Roxy Davis, Psychology Graduate Student Study Coordinator

Key Faculty

Sharon Daniel (Digital Arts and New Media), Jenny Reardon (Sociology)

Consulted Faculty

Mary Beth Pudup (Community Studies), Andrea Steiner (Community Studies)

Community Partners

Sin Barras

Graduate Student Researcher

Roxy Davis

Undergraduate Student Researcher

Priyanka Kulkarni (Sociology, Oakes)


Preliminary Study: Blum Center

Extended Study: SJRC, UC Art & Design Placemaking Initiative, the UCSC Psychology Department

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