The Orange County Sheriff’s Department, in collusion with the Orange County District Attorney, is responsible for establishing and perpetuating a violent culture of negligence that has led to the epidemic of preventable deaths of those held in Orange County custody.
There were 4 recent deaths in the OC jails (3 at the Intake Release Center and 1 at Theo Lacy) in recent weeks, this brings the total known deaths this year to 9 under OCSD custody.
History of deaths in OCSD custody:
From January 1, 2010 to January 1, 2020, 78 people died in OCSD custody.
From January 1, 2010 to January 1, 2018, there were 59 deaths. According to this OCSD press release, there were 10 deaths in 2018 and 8 deaths in 2019.
Due to limited reporting and inconsistent press releases from OCSD, the list below may not include all deaths so far in 2020:
- 1/19: Santa Ana man suspected of murder was killed in a fight with an OC jail inmate
- 2/11: Inmate facing drug charges died at the Theo Lacy jail this morning
- 3/23: DUI suspect has died at the Theo Lacy jail
- 3/29: In-custody death of another inmate at the OC Central Men’s jail
- 5/18: In-custody death of inmate from Theo Lacy jail
- 7/14: In-custody death of inmate from Intake Release Center
- 7/16: In-custody death of inmate from Intake Release Center
- 7/19: In-custody death of inmate from Intake Release Center
- 7/22: An inmate at Theo Lacy died this morning
- Report: “Preventable Deaths in Orange County Jails”
- Report: “The Silent Killer’ Hypertension in Orange County’s Intake and Release Center”
- Report: “Our Brothers’ Keeper: A Look at the Care and Treatment of Mentally Ill Inmates in Orange County Jails”
- Report: “The Mental Illness Revolving Door: A Problem for Police, Hospitals, and the Health Care Agency”
The Sheriff, who acts as the county coroner, determines the manner and cause of death of those that die in his custody. His biased and ineffectual investigations, protected through inaction by the DA’s office, shields himself and county leadership from responsibility and accountability.
The Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs contributed heavily to Don Barnes’ campaign for sheriff. They opposed Todd Spitzer for DA, but contributed to his campaigns in the past. Todd threatened to hold OCSD accountable, but since coming into office, Spitzer has supported incarceration through status quo fear-mongering, implicitly supporting OCSD’s continuing abuses. The AOCDS has also contributed to OC supervisors Andrew Do, Lisa Bartlett, and Don Wagner.
Our elected officials are failing to protect those they’ve sworn to care for. We are asking the community to stand up, to speak out against this terrible injustice. These unnecessary deaths must come to an end. Going to jail should not be a death sentence.
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