by Penka Arsova
A judge has ordered the sheriff of Orange County, California, to slash the number of incarcerated people by 50% to protect those more vulnerable to coronavirus infections.
The ruling: Superior Court Judge Peter Wilson ruled that Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes violated the constitutional right of individuals in custody who are considered to be at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms due to medical and age-related reasons. Wilson said that the sheriff showed “deliberate indifference” to the threat that the virus poses to the immunocompromised and older adults.
“The uncontested facts found here include that conditions in the jail do not permit proper social distancing, there is no mandatory testing of staff or asymptomatic detainees after intake, and no strictly enforced policy of requiring masks for all staff interaction with inmates,” Judge Wilson wrote, the Los Angeles Times reported.