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April 9, 2008

Grand Jury Report of the Orange County Jail System

After reading the Grand Juries report on the Orange County Jail system, I sit back and wonder why that the issues the Orange County Sheriffs Office are facing were not dealt with as they happened. Why did it take the unfortunate death of a prisoner and the subsequent grand jury findings to bring to light the major issues that are happening within this jail system? Why was this not handled by the interim Sheriff LONG before it got to the point where he is now doing damage control and trying to explain his lack of action. I believe that putting people on administrative leave was a knee jerk reaction and in response to the Grand Jury’s findings. It’s just too little to late. It should never have taken the death of someone to spur the interim Sheriff into action, for that I say Shame on you Interim Sheriff Anderson, for not listening to your deputies, and opening your eyes beyond what you chose to see.

In each jail they have an administrative staff, who are responsible for overseeing the jails operations. So I have to ask why is it that when someone voices a concern, the administration will shelve the issue and not address and correct it at the time. With the Grand Jury finding that deputies are using their time to chat online, text message, sleep and watch television while not doing their job and putting both other guards and prisoners at risk, why is it the jail administrators have not reprimanded those who are not doing their jobs? You can not tell me that there have not been deputies who have voiced concerns with the jail system, only to be reprimanded or transferred because the administrators of a particular jail do not want to face the facts, perhaps the administrators should stop burring their heads in the preverbal sand, they should listen to those who are walking the jail beat, otherwise how can they have a true vision of what is going on down in the jail trenches.

When you work in the private sector, if you are found misusing the companies’ funds, equipment, or sleeping while you should be working, you are sure to find yourself OUT of a job. Then why is it ok for those deputies to be as we would term it LAZY. Is it because they feel that due to their time on they should be allowed to sit back and just collect a paycheck? The sad thing is those who are being lazy and not doing their jobs just don’t care, they are getting paid and that’s all that matters. It gives those deputies who do work hard at their jobs a bad name and reputation. People this is your tax dollar at work.

It was common knowledge through the law enforcement community that the former Sheriff Mike Carona was a substandard sheriff, with little or no regard for those who worked under him to uphold the law. It’s also well known that Interim Sheriff Anderson was one of Former Sheriff Carona’s “Golden Children”, a hand picked lackey put into place because he did his job by being a yes man. Now that Carona is no longer Sheriff, the interim Sheriff has his plate full, hopefully he will become proactive and face the issues at hand instead of letting them fester to the point where another person is hurt.

IF you want change then it should start from the top with someone who actually listens to what the people in his department are saying, someone who will be proactive in his approach of dealing with the jail system. Yes we all know change takes time, but the question then is how many more have to die before the interim sheriff actually steps up, stepping up when the cameras are on does no one any good nor does it bring back the lives lost in the jails that ultimately he is responsible for.

A new fulltime sheriff would be a good beginning, change will not happen until something is done there. The interim Sheriff can talk tough to the media all he want, he can try and establish policies, but those who work under him will not take as much heed to changes made as they would to someone who’s going to be with them long term.

In the orange county register I was reading through an article regarding the death of inmate at the Santa Ana jail and was surprised to see the reporter compare the Orange County Jail System with that of the Los Angeles County Jail System. No jail system is free of flaws, however it’s the handling of issues and the willingness to see what is going on by the upper echelon that makes a jail system what it is. It is regretful that people have to lose their lives in jail, however while we hear what the news has to say about the current situation, where were they as trouble happened, did they report it or do they just sit back, only to glamorize and sensationalize the current going ons.

I agree that there needs to be change in the Orange County Jail System, but instead of punishing those who actually care about their jobs and the welfare of the prisoners they deal with daily, administration should listen when deputies voice their concerns to superiors and address them, not sweep them under the rug until such time as something as sad as a death occurs. Until those who are running the jail system, actually do their job, there will be no change in sight.

Filed under: Politics,Rants by Kat at 8:21 pm


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