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


2019-2020 Call for Graduate Student Researcher

Interested in the Intersections of Science and Justice?

Want to Develop Responsible Collaborative Research and Public Events?


Science & Justice seeks a graduate student researcher who:

  • has successfully completed the Science & Justice Training Program;
  • is able to attend SJWG meetings typically on Wednesday’s from 4-6PM and create rapporteur reports;
  • actively participates in building science and justice research and has an interest in mentoring others on research projects;
  • is interested in facilitating Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) trainings or workshops; and
  • can translate trending news items that integrate components of real world applications with science and justice concerns into blog pieces that are posted on the S&J website and shared on social media.

The Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) is offered a 50% appointment.


To Apply: submit materials to scijust@ucsc.edu

BY: Monday, May 20, 2019 (12:00noon)

Applicants should email their CV and a 1-2 page application that presents:

  • what experiences they have that would make them good for this position;
  • their interests in the Center’s research and how their work/research/career goals would benefit from the position;
  • their ideas about cross-divisional and interdisciplinary collaborations, especially among humanists, engineers, natural scientists, artists and social scientists as well as ones that are community/academia partnerships;
  • and what ideas they would bring to S&J.

Key Items for 2019-2020

Research Projects – Assist in Science & Justice research projects (for example: Just Biomedicine, Jail / Care, etc.); assist with developing and maintaining collaborations among humanists, engineers, natural scientists, artists and social scientists as well as community/academia partnerships.

RCR – work with faculty to develop and facilitate Responsible Conduct Research trainings or workshops.

Fall/Winter/Spring Programming – work with a planning committee on Science & Justice programming.

General ScopeIn consultation with the Center Manager and Director(s), the GSR will assist to implement Center programming and research. Correspond with Project Leaders on the development of research projects and help oversee undergraduate student researchers. Responsibilities may include: organizing, planning, and co-facilitating focus groups; training and coordinating a team of undergraduate researchers who may co-facilitate focus groups and assist with documentation, interviews, transcription and data analysis; fostering collaboration and teamwork among researchers; reviewing research relevant to Center themes and areas of inquiry; creating infographics, outreach materials, and reports based on findings or events; develop and contribute to Center communication channels (ie: blog posts, news articles) for sharing research findings on campus and to the broader public; and participating in core SJRC activities and happenings.