For the second month in a row, a Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office jail official has been arrested for improper sexual relations and other charges.
Detectives arrested 35-year-old Correctional Officer Jenna Baldwin Sunday, Oct. 4, at 6:30pm and booked her into the Santa Cruz Main Jail.
The charges against her include sexual activity with an inmate, assault by a public officer, and bringing contraband into a detention facility, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office announced today.
Santa Cruz defense attorney Jonathan Gettleman, who has represented several Main Jail inmates, says that—shocking as it is—the news doesn’t particularly surprise him.
“Nothing that happens at the jail surprises me anymore. It is unfortunate, but there have been out-of- control, seemingly lawless conditions for so long,” says Gettleman, whose firm is currently representing victims of alleged violent crime at the jail. “It’s the type of environment that breeds lawless behavior, both from inmates and staff.”
Numerous Santa Cruz County Civil Grand Jury reports have detailed issues of possible jail mismanagement at the jail, predating the start of Sheriff Jim Hart’s tenure at the helm in 2015. Earlier this year, Tamario Smith, who suffered from mental health issues, died from low sodium after apparently over-hydrating, according to an autopsy report. In November 2019, German Carrillo was allegedly killed in his cell by two cellmates.
The investigation into Baldwin began in May 2020, according to a press release. After detectives received information that Baldwin was having an inappropriate relationship. Baldwin worked for the sheriff’s office starting in 2008.
Previously, Santa Cruz County Correctional Officer Jessica Smith was arrested and booked into the Main Jail on Sept. 4. She was booked on charges including sexual activity with an inmate, assault by a public officer and unauthorized computer access.
Another then-correctional officer, Marco del Real, was arrested for sexual relations with an inmate in 2018. He served no jail time, according to a 2019 story in the Santa Cruz Sentinel.