Now that all three escaped inmates have been taken into custody we can breathe a sigh of relief, right? Wrong. According to the record, 15 inmates have escaped in 6 separate incidents since the central jail was built in 1968. All escapes were made through the roof, with inmates using a variety of tools to rappel down the wall, including sheets, garden hoses, ropes and electrical cords. One wonders where they get some of this stuff. Or, more to the point, how many escapes will it take before the Sheriff’s Department adheres to the California Minimum Safety Check Rules.
Grand Juries have recommended updating surveillance at the jail as the highest priority for the past 8 years, but the sheriff’s department has cited “recessionary budget restraints” as its reason for refusing to upgrade.
Minimum Safety and Welfare Checks
“The California Code of Regulations, Title 15, section 1027, mandates hourly safety checks of inmates.” This minimum standard is non-negotiable. The reason for this is to ensure that inmates are alive, do not need assistance, and that no criminal activity is afoot. But if the checks were done it would also account for inmates who are missing from their cells. Officers who conduct the checks would see that a cell was empty with the sheets stripped off the bunks, and see that there was a big hole in the ventilation grate where it had been sawed through. Even video monitoring of cells would show such a glaring problem.
The Sheriff’s Office said that a reason these escapees got a head start was a disturbance in a different part of the jail. So how long would it take to resolve that situation? Moreover, escaped inmates are not the only problem at OC Jail. Inmates have died as a result of non-compliance with minimum safety check regulations.
Death by Withdrawal and Other Causes
Escaped inmates are not the only problem at OC Jail. Inmates have died as a result of non-compliance with minimum safety check regulations.
Substance withdrawal has lead to death more than once in Orange County. Timelines and severity of symptoms vary, but once withdrawal begins, symptoms leading to death become severe enough to be easily observed, and these symptoms, which last for hours, include tremors, vomiting, and seizures. In one recent case fellow inmates requested medical treatment repeatedly because an inmate was going through acute withdrawal, nevertheless this inmate went unmonitored and died in his cell after hours of anguish.
Orange County inmates die from beatings, infections, untreated medical conditions, and many other causes, but jail personnel are never held responsible.
Welfare and Safety Checks is the Law
California law mandates safety monitoring of inmates at least once an hour. What will it take for our corrections officers to abide by the law? Whether our primary concern is
- The safety and civil rights of people in jail;
- The safety of our communities when violent inmates escape; or
- Whether our law enforcement officers are themselves law abiding
We must demand that our law enforcement officials abide by the law. It is clear that they will not abide by California Minimum Safety Checks unless forced to.
Call The Sehat Law Firm if You or a Loved One is Injured as a Result of Jail Medical Neglect or Jail Guard Misconduct
Because of ongoing non-compliance with minimum safety checks more tragedies are surely coming. If you or a loved one is injured or killed due to jail medical neglect, as a result of an escape, or from any kind of Police/Prison Guard Misconduct you have a right to recover damages. Moreover, these tragedies will continue to occur unless we force change through Civil Rights litigation.
At Sehat Law our dedicated Civil Rights lawyers will be there with you every step of the way. Whether you are an inmate, a grieving relative, or somebody who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, we understand how scary and daunting it is to stand for your rights. You do not have to do it alone. We will stand up with you and help you to obtain justice.
We have offices located in Irvine, Los Angeles, Long Beach and Riverside. Call (855) 468-5291 today for a free consultation.