Orange County’s Jails Inmate Deaths

I recently read an article from the OC Weekly regarding Orange County’s Jails strange deaths, which included suicides. Some of the deaths have even gone by without any public announcements or knowledge? Not till recently did the Orange County Sheriff’s Department pass a new policy issuing press releases for deaths in their county jails. Sheriff’s officials have acknowledged an increase of suicides, but give little to no explanations on the cause of various deaths. For example, the DA’s office investigation report regarding Michelle Gee’s death provided very little details as to the cause of death and several inmates have died within a week’s time of each other in early 2010, but the OCSD and DA’s office will not comment on how these individuals died.

Reading the article brought me to many conclusions on how these individuals could of met their demise in custody, but stating my unfounded conclusions would be unfair to the deceased inmates families as well as the other entities involved. However, many of our clients have complained about the deputies running the Orange County’s Jails and how they were treated during their stay. I recall one client who is a serious diabetic, he wasn’t given any insulin for two days and the Orange County Jail wouldn’t accept the medication from the family. Another client was told by a deputy  to, “Keep quite if you know what’s good for you”, while being processed through the Intake and Release Center (IRC). Lastly, our client is notified that his bail bond was posted only to be placed in a corner for 4 hours, mocked, and made fun of by deputies as they stood around.

Jail reform should be a top priority for Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens. She was recently sworn in as the “elected” Sheriff of Orange County and claims her priority is to ensure safety and security for the Orange County public. Deputies, workers, and activists agree that jail reform is necessary now to prevent the horrible events of the past from repeating.

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