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Sheriff refuses to free prisoners after judge ruled release of 1,800

Sheriff refuses to release 1,800 inmates from Orange County jails despite judge ruling HALF of prison population needs to be set free as COVID outbreak sees over 400 detainees test positive

  • Sheriff Don Barnes issued a stark rebuke of the Friday order from the Orange County Superior Court 
  • ‘I have no intention of releasing any of these individuals from my custody,’ Barnes declared 
  • The order came after an April lawsuit filed by the ACLU on behalf of the inmates
  • There were zero cases of inmates who tested positive with COVID-19 last Monday
  • By Friday, the sheriff had announced that there had been an outbreak of 138 cases
  • The following Monday, the sheriff’s office announced there were 416 cases

Local authorities are rejecting an order from a California judge calling for the reduction of Orange County jail populations by 50 per cent. 

Sheriff Don Barnes issued a stark rebuke of the Friday order from the Orange County Superior Court, asserting that his sheriff’s office planed to file an appeal in the decision.  

‘I have no intention of releasing any of these individuals from my custody,’ Barnes declared, ABC 7 reports. 

‘We are going to file an appeal and we’re going to fight it and if the judge has any intent of releasing any one of these individuals, he will have to go through line by line, name by name and tell me which ones he is ordering released.’

Sheriff Don Barnes issued a stark rebuke of the Friday order from the Orange County Superior Court

There were zero cases of inmates who tested positive with COVID-19 last Monday. By the following Monday, the sheriff's office announced there were 416 cases

There were zero cases of inmates who tested positive with COVID-19 last Monday. By the following Monday, the sheriff’s office announced there were 416 cases

The order came after an April lawsuit filed by the ACLU on behalf of the inmates. 

‘Public safety does not just mean crime,’ Jacob Reisberg, a spokesperson with the ACLU, said.

The sentiment was shared by District Attorney Spitzer, who claimed that the released inmates would do more crime and have more victims

The sentiment was shared by District Attorney Spitzer, who claimed that the released inmates would do more crime and have more victims

‘Public safety also means, is there a hospital bed open if you get sick? And if there’s a massive outbreak in the jail, which this de-population order is trying to avoid, there will not be hospital capacity in Orange County for people on the outside who get COVID.’

There were zero cases of inmates who tested positive with COVID-19 last Monday but by Friday, the sheriff had announced that there had been an outbreak of 138 cases. By the following Monday, the sheriff’s office announced there were 416 cases. 

Barnes claimed that the case number was so high because unlike the general public, everyone in the jail was getting tested. 

The sheriff also claimed that released inmates mixed heavily with the general public outside the jails.

‘We have inmates who are participating in different practices. Either going to medical appointments or going to court or meeting with their attorneys,’ he said. ‘These people are all from the general public and we know there’s a surge within the general public.’

Sheriff Barnes claimed that the case number was so high because unlike the general public, everyone in the jail was getting tested

 Sheriff Barnes claimed that the case number was so high because unlike the general public, everyone in the jail was getting tested

The sentiment was shared by District Attorney Spitzer, who claimed that the released inmates would do more crime and have more victims. 

According to data from the DA’s office, low-level offenders who were released early or on $0 bail during the pandemic have already committed new crimes at nearly three times the normal rate.

‘There’s no doubt it would jeopardize public safety because these are some of the worst of the worst,’ Spitzer said.

Spitzer added that the surge in jails mirrors trends seen across the country.   

‘Why does anybody think that what’s going on in our jails is not gonna be a mirror image of what’s already happening on the outside?’ Spitzer said. 

‘The numbers in the jail are not out of control or inflated as compared to what’s going on outside of our jails.’   

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