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Callout: What do you want us to know about jails in Northern California?

Fellowship Story Showcase

Callout: What do you want us to know about jails in Northern California?

Picture of Matthew Brannon
This file photo shows the inside of the Shasta County Jail.
This file photo shows the inside of the Shasta County Jail.
File Photo
Record Searchlight
Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The Record Searchlight is looking into county jail conditions in Northern California — and we need your help.

By nature of them being walled off, jails have been called “the hidden side of law enforcement" and can sometimes be difficult for civilians to understand. In an effort learn more, we’re turning to community members like you to help us fill in some of the gaps. We want to understand how you’ve been impacted by jails in Northern California, and we want to hear your stories.

Here are some overarching facts:

This year, the Record Searchlight is writing a series about jail deaths and general safety in county jail custody. For this project, we want to gather stories and documents from the northern half of California as a whole to illustrate a more complete picture of the county jail landscape.

If you’ve spent time in jail or have a loved one who has, we want to know what that was like for you. We’re hoping to hear from a wide range of people — that also includes those who have worked for a jail.

Shasta County Jail on June 12, 2020 Matt Brannon/Record Searchlight

We want to know about what conditions are like for inmates, especially when it comes to getting medical help or mental health treatment. When you had a medical concern or health need, did you feel like jail staff responded quickly? We also want to know if it was easy or difficult to learn about your rights as an inmate, and whether you had access to educational programs and resources that were helpful for job searching or readjusting to life after release.

If you work or formerly worked in a Northern California jail, to what extent do you think there are or were enough resources available to do the job right?

If you’ve been affected by jails in Northern California and want to share your story, ask us questions or get updates on the project, please complete our Google form below or online at You can also email us at or text/call (530) 638-2380. You can write to us at the Record Searchlight at 1101 Twin View Boulevard, Redding, California, 96003.


We’re also interested to hear about individual stories and look at any noteworthy documents from jails in Northern California.

No identifying information you share (like your name or personal stories) will be published without your direct permission. Record Searchlight reporter Matt Brannon may be in touch to follow up about your response. 

Matt Brannon wrote this while participating in the USC Center for Health Journalism's California Fellowship. The Center’s engagement editor, Danielle Fox, contributed support to this outreach.

Matt Brannon covers politics, the criminal justice system and breaking news for the Record Searchlight. Follow him on Twitter @MattBrannon_RS. Support local coverage and keep up with the North State for as little as $1 a month. Subscribe today

[This article was originally published by Record Searchlight.]