5 Deputies Hospitalized Following Attack by Inmates at O.C. Jail: Sheriff’s Officials

Five Orange County sheriff’s deputies and one prisoner were taken to the hospital after an unprovoked attack by inmates at the Central Men’s Jail in Santa Ana, authorities said.

The incident occurred around 7:30 a.m. as the detainees were exchanging clothes and sheets in a hallway at the jail, located at 550 N. Flower St., the Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.

Officials said that the altercation was “quickly controlled.”

The five sheriff’s employees and inmate were all transported for examination of moderate injuries, while several other inmates involved in the fight were assessed at the jail and returned to their housing units, authorities said.

The facility was subsequently placed on a temporary lockdown so that the incident could be investigated.

O.C. Sheriff-elect Don Barnes blamed the incident directly on California’s Public Safety Realignment, a court-ordered initiative to reduce the state prison population by shifting detainees to county jails.

“Inmate on staff assaults are not new, but we have seen a rapid increase since AB109 took effect,” Barnes said in a statement. “Our deputies in custody operations are tasked with the tremendous duty to maintain order and control with individuals who have proven that they cannot follow society’s laws.”

According to the Sheriff’s Department, inmate assaults on staff have increased 104 percent since AB 109 was put in place in 2011, from an average of 26.8 per year between 2007 and 2011 to an average of 64.5 annually from 2012 to 2017.

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