Archive for the ‘Orange County Jail’ Category

Pay to Stay Jails

Thursday, January 24th, 2019

It’s been awhile since my last blog post, but due to repeated calls from my adoring public ( well okay, Mom and Uncle Joe) I’ve written another thrilling, can’t put it down post! This time out we’ll be discussing Pay To Stay jails in Orange County. At this time, there are Pay To Stay facilities in Santa Ana, Anaheim, Huntington Beach, Fullerton, and Seal Beach.

So, you committed a crime, bailed out with Orange County Bail Bonds, went to court, and (oh no!) were sentenced. The purpose of a Pay To Stay jail is to allow someone convicted of a crime to serve their time in a city jail instead of the Orange County Jail. It permits a person to continue to work or attend school, to provide support for a family, and avoid disrupting a work schedule. For many, it also allows them to serve their sentence in a less intimidating environment. Most of the facilities allow inmates to attend work or school daily, from roughly 6:00am to 6:00pm.

Each facility has its own criteria for enrolling and rules of conduct (see attached form from the Anaheim PD) but they all are pretty standard as to cost, hours/days available, and types of crimes that would cause denial of the programs. Cost can vary depending on the facility, but is usually non refundable for violation of the rules once it’s paid. For a long sentence, the fees can be considerable, but again, the cost may outweigh the alternative, which is to serve a sentence in the general population of the Orange County Jail.

Anaheim Police Department   Pay To Stay – Work Release Program

The City of Anaheim Police Department will participate in work release programs for males and females arrested for most misdemeanors and some felonies with approval from the court. The primary criteria for acceptance are as follows:
No violence – The arresting charge should not involve violence, however is evaluated on a case by case basis. History of violence may also be a cause for rejection. Initial _____

• No drugs – Individuals considering the City of Anaheim Pay To Stay/Work Release Program must refrain from the use of any alcohol or narcotics. For security reasons all participants must
agree to be strip searched each time that they return to the facility. Initial _____

Timeliness – All commitment times must be adhered to at all times. There are no exceptions. Initial _____

Health – Inmates wishing to participate in the Anaheim Pay-to-Stay/Work Release Program must provide the facility with a completed Medical Screening Application, signed by a licensed
physician. The form must be completed prior to entry into the facility. All cost associated with the process are the responsibility of the applicant. Initial _____

Interview – Any person wishing to participate in the program must participate in an interview with a Correctional Sergeant prior to acceptance. Interviews are held by appointment only.
Initial _____

Medications – Any medication required by any participant must be approved prior. ONLY APPROVED PSYCHOTROPIC MEDICATION will be permitted in the facility. Individuals
requiring unapproved psychotropic medications will not be accepted. Initial _____

Paperwork – A signed court order/minute order affixed with the seal of the issuing court must state that the individual can be incarcerated at the City of Anaheim jail. In addition, the court
order must show what times the individual can leave and must return to the facility. This document must be approved prior to the surrender date. Initial _____

Fee – Payment for the program is $150.00 for the first day, and $100.00 for each additional day. Payment is accepted in full or in two-week increments with the first two-weeks due upon
incarceration.  Money orders and cashier’s checks are the only form of payment accepted. Initial _____

Grooming standards – All individuals accepted into the program agree to abide by the sentenced inmate grooming standards. No beards, Goatees, long hair or unruly hair. Hair shall be kept short and neat. Participants shall shave as required by staff. Mustaches must be groomed regularly. Initial _____

Holidays – All Federal holidays ( Federal law 5 U.S.C. 6103) are considered a non-work day unless the day in question has been addressed on the commitment order. If you are in our custody on a holiday you will remain in our custody unless your commitment order has cleared you for that day. These holidays include: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. Initial _____

Failure to Complete Program – In the event that you fail to complete your program without the permission of the pay-to-stay administrator; all funds paid in advance of time served will not be refunded.

Participants must refrain from the use of alcohol at all times when released from the facility for work. Any belief from staff that the participant has consumed alcohol, any narcotic, or any misuse of medication will result in immediate lock down and new charges. Initial _____

No property shall be allowed into the facility upon returning from work. This includes newspapers, magazines, or books. For security reasons all work furlough participants shall be strip searched upon re-entry into the facility. No cell phones, computers, IPADS etc., will be allowed into the facility. Initial _____

Family members can DONATE appropriate DVD’s/Books to the facility for inmates in the program. Any donated movie must be new (no previously used) and must be in sealed original packaging.
Donated movies/books shall be considered property of the Anaheim Detention Facility and will not be returned upon release. The ultimate decision to accept a movie/book will be the responsibility of the Correctional Sergeant on duty.

Visitation

Visitation for inmate workers/ work release participants occurs on Saturday and Sunday between 2:00 pm and 5:00 pm. All visits are non-contact.  Participants in the City of Anaheim Pay-to-Stay Program must agree to provide physical labor for the facility for a minimum of five hours on days that they are not released for work.

What to Bring

If you are a pay-to-stay inmate and need specialized clothing to wear when you leave the facility, you must discuss this with the work release supervisor prior to starting the program. When you report on your first day you should bring ONLY the following:
• A copy of the most current commitment order
• A check for full payment or $1,450.00, or if less than fourteen (14) days, the total amount due
• Medical clearance paperwork

You may also bring the following items:

• (2) pair of blue jeans
• (2) comfortable shirts (no slogans)
• (1) sweatshirt
• (1) sweat pants (for sleeping)
• (1) pair rubber soled shoes/tennis shoes (no boots/steel toes/dress shoes)
• (1) Belt
• No toiletries (all are provided)
• No writing equipment (will be provided)
• No jewelry, watches, or cash
For additional information contact a Correctional Sergeant at 714.765.1826.

James Musick: The Jail and The Man

Monday, October 17th, 2016

musick-photo

This will be the third installment of the ongoing series of posts about Orange County jails. The third jail in the Orange County Jail system is the James Musick Facility, also known as The Farm. James Musick was an interesting guy!

Musick is a one hundred acre minimum security facility. The facility is located in an unincorporated area of the county near the cities of Irvine and Lake Forest. Originally the facility held a maximum of 200 male minimum-security inmates and was referred to as the “County Industrial Farm” or the “Honor Farm.” Since 1986, the inmate housing capacity has increased to 1,322 and includes both men and women. The inmates housed at the facility are considered to be a low security risk and most are in jail for crimes such as driving under the influence (DUI), minor drug possession, burglary/theft, failure to pay child support, and or prostitution.

james-musick-entrance

 

(This is the entrance to the facility. You’ll need to show ID to the guard on duty before proceeding for visitation)

Inmates and ICE detainees who have committed violent crimes, sex crimes or mayhem are not eligible for transfer to the facility. The James A. Musick Facility provides custodial and rehabilitative programs for 1,322 adult male and female inmates and ICE detainees. Educational programs are available which enable the inmates to receive a G.E.D. while incarcerated. In addition, educational classes are offered in subjects such as; parenting, substance abuse, HiSET, and English as a Second Language (ESL). Vocational Classes that are offered at the facility includes; Cabinetry, Welding, and Workforce Readiness. The laundry facility at Musick also serves the Theo Lacy facility ( see our last blog/Facebook posts) as well as Orange County Juvenile Hall in addition to the laundry needs for the Musick facility.

The daily operations of the 1,322 bed facility are managed by Captain Bob Osborne . The facility was originally opened in 1963 and was named in honor of James A. Musick, ,a retired NFL star and former deputy. (Musick was a running back in the National Football League for the Boston Redskins (now the Washington Redskins) from 1932–1936. He led the NFL in rushing in 1933 His family moved to Southern California when Jim was a young boy. After attending Santa Ana High School, Musick played college football at the University of Southern California from 1929–1931. It was at USC he earned the nickname “Sweet” Musick as he helped lead the Trojans to two Rose Bowl victories and a national championship in 1931. Musick ranks 17th on the Trojans all-time career rushing list with 393 carries for 1,605 yards. While at USC Musick even had a brief flirtation with Hollywood, having an uncredited role along with fellow Trojan players and former player John Wayne in the 1932 movie That’s My Boy.

He came home from the war and successfully ran for the office of sheriff, assuming command in 1947. He would serve as sheriff for the next twenty-eight years – the longest term in department history. When he took office, the county was still mostly rural, with a population of 216,000 served by a department of only seventy-six. During Musick’s administration, a number of divisions and facilities were commissioned that remain active to this day.

He implemented the county’s first crime lab., Musick, as Orange County’s brand new sheriff in 1947, was mortified over the outcome of a sensational murder case, and pledged that no such thing would ever happen again.

On March 15, 1947, a small yacht, the Mary E, exploded in Newport Harbor. Aboard were wealthy Walter and Beulah Overell of Los Angeles. Watching from the shoreline as the boat blew up were their 17-year-old daughter, Beulah Louise, and her boyfriend, George “Bud” Gollum, 21. Beulah Louise had been threatened with disinheritance if she did not end the relationship with Gollum. The explosion occurred in incorporated Newport Beach, but that town’s investigators had scant experience in such matters, so the probe fell to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. The young couple was arrested and charged with murder.

The notorious case—nothing like it had been seen here before—placed the Sheriff’s Department under unprecedented scrutiny. The prosecutor was not the district attorney, but rather was Assistant U.S. Attorney Eugene Williams, who was reputed to have higher political aspirations. He assembled what everybody thought was a substantial case: The Overells had first been bludgeoned to death by two boat stanchions, and the prosecution even located the store from which Gollum had purchased dynamite. The defense claimed that the boat had blown up from accumulated gas fumes. Because the sheriff’s office had no genuine crime lab, evidence had to be sent out for analyses, and the substantial sum of $75,000 was spent on outside expertise.

The widely publicized case stirred up enormous public interest. Imagine the shock when, after a sensational 19-week trial, the jury ruled for acquittal. Critical to the case had been forensic evidence, which turned out to be tainted because of distance and delay. Sheriff Musick was astonished and embarrassed, and vowed never again to lose a case because of poor lab work. He requested and received funding to establish a state-of-the-art crime laboratory, an innovative and efficient agency even today. The Overell case also resulted in legislation controlling the sale and purchase of explosives. In its peculiar way, the Overell murders of 1947 proved to be a watershed moment for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, where the case is still discussed by Forensics people today. He also started OC’s first Peace Officer’s Training Center (now known as the Katella Facility), and the nation’s first law enforcement Explorer post. The 1960s saw the construction of the Orange County Industrial Farm (later renamed the James A. Musick Jail Facility), the Theo Lacy Facility, and the headquarters and central jails still in use today.

In response to the civil unrest of the late 1960s, Musick formed the Emergency Action Group Law Enforcement (EAGLE) team, a group of deputies with specialized training in various riot control and specialized tactics. Although the team disbanded several years later, certain platoons evolved into the modern-day SWAT, Hazardous Devices, and Mounted Patrol units. The department grew even larger when the Coroner’s Office merged with it in 1971. By the time Musick retired in 1974, the county had expanded to a rapidly urbanizing population of over 1,400,000, with the department having grown to a staff of over 900.

Musick’s handpicked successor was Brad Gates, who became sheriff in 1975. The department continued its rapid expansion during his administration, with the merging of two more agencies – the Orange County Harbor Patrol and the Stanton Police Department. In response to severe jail overcrowding, the Intake Release Center was opened in 1988.(see our posts about the IRC)

The History of Theo Lacy and Orange County’s Jails

Monday, September 19th, 2016

theo-lacy-on-a-horse-orange county-jails-history

Theophilus “Theo” Lacy,  was a farmer, stable operator, and former Santa Ana town treasurer. He was also Orange County’s second (1891-95) and fourth (1899-1911) sheriff. Because the county was principally agricultural and sparsely populated, however, Lacy didn’t have much to do other than chase vagrants, look into an (infrequent) fight or robbery, and oversee the simple jail. Theo Lacy died in June 1918, as one of the county’s best-known citizens. Today, one of Orange County’s modern jails is named after the Lacy family.

santa-ana-first-jail-orange-county

The Spurgeon Square Jail, aka “Lacy’s Hotel,” 1897-1924

Today, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department oversees three jails, with a daily inmate population generally averaging about 6,800. At the first of August, 1889, when Orange County was carved out of Los Angeles County, OC had not only no jail and no inmates, but also no county offices of any kind. So the county rented fourteen rooms in Santa Ana for a dollar a year, including a sheriff’s quarters at 302½ East Fourth Street. That took care of the office shortage, but there was still the jail problem. So jeweler Joseph H. Brunner offered the dark, dungeon-like basement of his building at 116½ East Fourth Street in Santa Ana. It was 30 feet long, extending partially under a sidewalk; 10 feet wide; and 10 feet to the ceiling with scant ventilation, double iron doors, and was known as “Brunner’s Basement.” “I have been in the basement,” an unfortunate scoundrel would bemoan. Following, then, is the chronology of Orange County jails:

Brunner’s Basement, 1889-1890

The “First Sycamore Street Jail,” 1890-1897

The Spurgeon Square Jail, aka “Lacy’s Hotel,” 1897-1924

The “Second Sycamore Street Jail,” aka “Old Sycamore,” 1924-1968

The Central Jails Complex (one jail each, for Men, Women), 1968-present; the Theo Lacy Facility, aka “The Branch,” 1960-present; the Intake Release Center, 1988; and the James A. Musick Facility, aka “The Farm,” 1963 (technically the IRC and Central Jails Complex are the same facility, located at 500 Flower St. in Santa Ana)

The subterranean Brunner’s Basement, clearly a stopgap measure, was in use only from August 1889 to May 1890 (although there are vague records of an unnamed “basement” lockup used for intoxicated persons, back in the late 1870s, before the county existed. This may have been a Santa Ana city jail). With the first county jail came the first jailbreak, in November 1889 when four of the eight prisoners manually threw a lock bolt and strolled out. Sheriff Richard T. Harris thought it over, surmised that the escapees “were well on their way to San Diego” by now, and good riddance. Saved the county 40 cents a day to feed them, anyway.

In any event, that 1889 “walk-away” jailbreak meant it was time for Orange County to have a real jail, so $4,000 was allocated for a new facility on Sycamore Street between Second and Third Streets, which opened in May 1890. Sometimes called the “First Sycamore Street Jail,” this was a small brick building containing three iron cells. It had its own rock pile next door, where the prisoners “made little ones out of big ones.” There was said to be no fence, just a ball-and-chain for each guest.

Although there is no record of a break-out from this jail, there was, unfortunately, one break-in, and it is still to the county’s great regret. Sheriff Theo Lacy had only two deputies in 1892, one who stayed in the office and one who oversaw the jail. (There was no such thing as routine patrol; officers went out only when summoned.) Among the prisoners was ranch worker Francisco Torres, who had used an ax to kill a well-liked local ranch foreman, and then fled to Escondido, where he was arrested. Sheriff Lacy retrieved Torres by train, but the sheriff had heard murmurings of a lynching. Accordingly, he ordered the train to stop early as it entered Santa Ana, and he whisked the prisoner to the jail. Still concerned at the growing restive sentiment, Lacy asked the County Supervisors for funds to transfer Torres to the Los Angeles jail for safekeeping. The supervisors responded by authorizing an additional guard instead. On August 20, 1892, a quiet, orderly mob broke open an iron jail door, shoved Deputy Robert Cogburn aside, removed Torres, and strung him up from a telegraph pole at Fourth and Sycamore streets.

Along about now (date uncertain), two inmates using a jackknife and a bucket dug their way out of the jail and slipped away, taking the jail blankets with them. The fleeing blanket-thieves split up but were captured. At some point, two other men burglarized a blacksmith’s shop, and stole tools that were then used to break into the jail and free about five vagrants. They were all captured, but then one of them took off again. Next, a group of prisoners removed metal bars from a furnace, and then, with a knife and two forks, dug themselves out. Such unseemly events were beginning to wear thin with the public, and in 1893 the Supervisors were forced to begin considering a new jail.

By 1897, the (slowly) growing Orange County required its third jail upgrade in eight years. A land parcel in the 200 block of Santa Ana Boulevard was purchased for $8,000, and $23,000 was allocated for a three-story lockup to be named Spurgeon Square Jail. It was better known as “Lacy’s Hotel,” named after Sheriff Lacy, whose family resided in, and oversaw, the lockup. The fortress-like Lacy’s Hotel, the first building in Spurgeon Square and soon to be joined next door by the grand old red sandstone courthouse, which elegantly survives today, was the county’s jailhouse for 27 years.

The fourth Orange County Jail and Sheriff’s Office, “Old Sycamore,” was constructed at 615 North Sycamore Street in Santa Ana in 1924 and remained in use for 44 years. (Orange County gets high mileage out of its jails.) It had an initial capacity of 260 inmates, but soon surpassed that number, as Orange County jails have tendency to do (and which for decades has drawn Grand Jury attention). In the early 1930s, crowding necessitated adding a fourth floor (“The Penthouse”) to Old Sycamore.

Old Sycamore closed in 1968, upon completion of the $10.4 million Central Jails complex in Santa Ana at 550 North Flower Street. Twenty years later, the biggest aggravated jailbreak in OC Sheriff history occurred when five men rappelled four stories down from the Men’s Central Jail roof, and disappeared. Unlike the four-man jail walk-away of 1889, however, this time the escapees were pursued, although it took six months (and help from the America’s Most Wanted TV show) to catch the last one. Rappelling remains the favored modern method of busting out of the Men’s Central Jail. On January 22, 2016, three violent and dangerous prisoners rappelled off the jail’s roof after cutting through multiple layers of metal, wriggling through a plumbing tunnel, evading barbed wire, sliding four stories down a bedsheet rope, and disappearing. Authorities said the trio had been working at it for weeks, even months. The escapees’ absence was not noted for fully 16 hours. The escapees fled to Northern California. One promptly returned to Orange County and surrendered, but thanks to alert citizens—and a $150,000 reward—the other two were captured in San Francisco within a week. The still-publicly-unannounced source of their cutting tools was a sizable exasperation for sheriffs’ officials. When Old Sycamore was torn down in 1973, an old ball and chain was discovered hidden away in its attic—obviously not in use in 1889, 1988, and 2016! The artifact is now retired to the Sheriff’s Archives.(1157)

How Does a Bail Bond Work in Orange County?

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

When dealing with a bail bonding company, it is best that you are aware of the procedure and the steps that you must follow in order to complete this transaction. The goal here is to help you or your loved one get out of jail while awaiting a court date and bail bonds companies are here to help. Make sure that you know exactly what you are getting into before you begin and call Orange County Bail Bonds at 800-422-4540 if you have any questions about the process.

From start to finish, the process shouldn’t take very long at all. You will start by seeing a judge and having a bail amount set. From there, you can start working with a local bail bond company to negotiate your release. We have convenient locations within minutes of all the major jails in Orange County, allowing us to get started on your case right away, even in the middle of the night.

How is the Bail Amount is Set

Before you can seek a bail bond, you must know how much your bail has been set at. This is done when you first see a judge after being arrested. The judge will inform you of the amount that will be required to set you free after hearing the charges against you.

The amount is generally dependent on the crime that you have been accused of and your criminal history. Keep in mind that the judge can make the bond amount prohibitive or deny bail altogether if it is determined that you are a serious flight risk or if you have been accused of a major crime.

In most situations, however, your bail will be reasonable and Orange County Bail Bonds will be able to help you. Once we are contacted, we will let you know how much you have to come up with right away. We will also help you through the rest of the release process.

Contacting a Bail Bonds Company

Once you know how much it will take to get you out of jail, you can have a loved one get a hold of a bail bonds company in Orange County. This bail bondsman will then look into the situation and see if you can be helped. Once again, the vast majority of people who have been arrested can negotiate a release in this manner and we will assist you along the way.

Orange County Bail Bonds is open 24 hours per day and seven days a week, so you won’t have to spend time waiting for us to open in the morning to get started. The goal is to get you released as quickly as possible, which is why one of our team members will get started on this process immediately after you get in touch with us.

Getting Released From Jail

If it is determined that the bail bond service provider can help you, the necessary arrangements will be made to get you out of jail. There is a fair amount of paperwork that will have to be filled out, but since we are usually able to get started on it right away, you shouldn’t have to stay in jail for too long.

We do charge a down payment that you must come up with prior to being released. This money is used as a guarantee that you are willing to work with us and are going to show up for your court appearance.

Paying the Premium

One thing to remember is that our bail bonds service isn’t free. There is a premium that is associated with receiving this bail bond that your indemnitor must agree to pay. This amount is usually a percentage of the total bail amount.

In California, the most you can be charged is 10 percent of your bail amount, while the least you can be charged is 8 percent. We are proud to say that we charge the absolute minimum, so you won’t find lower rates elsewhere.

We also offer payment plans if you are unable to come up with the premium and cut us a check right away. Speak with one of our family members to discuss the payment plan options that we have available.

The Role of the Guarantor

You must have a guarantor sign some paperwork before you can be released from jail. This individual will usually be a close friend or family member. The person who signs this paperwork is responsible for making sure that you show up for your court appearance.

We might also take collateral from your guarantor to ensure that you show up for court. If you fail to show up, we will then have the right to seize assets from either you or your guarantor.

Finally, the guarantor is on the hook for the entire bond amount if you decide not to show up for your court appearance. Since this bond is usually a significant amount of money, it is in your best interests to show up for court and in your guarantor’s best interests to make sure that you don’t run out on your charges.

How We Operate

As a family owned business, we pride ourselves on our ability to work directly with our clients to come up with a solution to their problems. We are aware that getting arrested is a stressful experience and it can do a great deal of damage to your life, both long and short term. For this reason, we work quickly and discreetly, so that your legal woes will have as little impact on your life as possible.

If you ever find yourself being charged with a crime and are in need of some immediate help, contact Orange County Bail Bonds a call at 800-422-4540. We will get the ball rolling on your release right away, giving you the best chance of getting your life back. Our team has helped thousands of accused individuals get out of jail and we are certain that we can do the same for you if given the chance.

Orange County California Jails Turning into Mental Hospitals as the Number of Mentally Ill Inmates Increases

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

A Bureau of Justice Statistics special report estimates that more than half of all prisoners and jail inmates have or had some form of undiagnosed or diagnosed mental health problem. This is compounded by rampant substance abuse issues already facing many of these inmates.

California prisons and jails have become homes for people with mental illness who pose a threat to the facility, jail staffers, and other prisoners whom are ill-equipped to deal with these issues. California’s major prisons are at risk of facing a lawsuit if they deny offenders with mental illness proper treatment while incarcerated. California is currently trying to deal with more than 33,000 mentally ill inmates with mental hospitals in the state serving just 6,000 patients.

California’s treatment of mentally ill prisoners has been the subject of a number of lawsuits and class action litigation. A federal judge ruled in April of 2014 that the state of California violated inmates’ rights with mental health issues by subjecting them to excessive punishment.  Like many other states, the budget for treatment of the mentally ill inmates has been reduced in California prisons and jails, and with the limited resources, the corrections system is unable to provide adequate mental-health treatment for inmates.

This is how the system works; criminal offenders who have mental illness are arrested and sent to jail. If the offenders are shown to have signs of mental illness, they are referred to a psychiatric clinic where they are tested to determine their level of competency. Those who are found incompetent or with a mental condition are sent to the mental health court where the judge determines if the person is competent to stand trial. If the person can’t stand trial, he/she is taken to a mental health facility.

This process where you wait for someone to be transferred to a mental health facility can take several weeks, the offender still doesn’t receive any form of treatment, and the condition worsens. Something has to be done in order to ensure that the psychiatric evaluations are done fast so that we don’t have so many people with mental illness waiting to be moved out of jail.

It is unfortunate that prison officials are now being forced to take care of mentally ill convicts, even though they are not specifically trained to offer this kind of care and did not sign up for it. There have been reports showing that mentally ill inmates are undergoing unusual and cruel punishment in Orange County jails. This kind of treatment has been seen to cause severe psychosis and even suicide.

To address some of these issues, jails throughout California are liaising with volunteers and community base service providers to provide a number of beneficial programs to the mentally ill inmates. But a lot more can still be done. Jails can recruit additional mental health staff who are trained on how to safely assess, house, treat, and work with inmates who are mentally ill. The mental health staff also need to be trained to work in a custody environment.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Orange County provides information for the family when a mentally ill person is arrested:

  • If your relative is already at the Orange County Sheriff Department Central Jail Complex, he/she can expect to be interviewed by the Mental Health Evaluation Team. If the Medical Evaluation Team determines that there are mental health issues, your relative will be referred to Correctional Mental Health.
  • It is OK for your mentally ill family member to discuss his/her physical and mental condition, diagnosis, medications, etc. with Medical Evaluation Team members.
  • It is important that he/she feels safe and to speak openly with mental health screeners.

Family members often know what is best for their loved ones that have been arrested.  Getting them out on bail where they can receive the proper care and treatment of mental health professionals is often the best course of action.

Orange County Jails More Dangerous Than Ever

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Pressure has continued to build up in local jails in Orange County after changes which were introduced in order to reduce the population in state prisons. The state law which is referred to as AB109 required non serious and low level offenders to be sentenced to county jails instead of state prison in order to serve their sentence, no matter how long the sentence might be. Even though this was intended to reduce the population of prisoners in state prisons, it has had a very negative impact on county jails.

County jails have become crowded with serious offenders who are violent and stay longer than for which the jails were originally designed . Gang tensions have become the order of the day in OC jails and even treatments which were not previously needed in these facilities have become a norm. Some of these inmates who are transferred to county jails are more experienced living behind state bars. They bring with them this experience and impose gang politics in county jails. This could explain why the smuggling of drugs and contraband has escalated in county jails. The situation has become risky for not only the inmates but the guards as well.

The Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs recently reported an increase in assaults among inmates from the beginning of 2012 (which is around the period the new state laws were introduced). There were 272 assaults recorded in county jails in 2011. From the start of 2012 until June 26, 277 assaults were already recorded in county jails. This shows that the transformation occurred within just a few months. The dynamics have changed, says Sgt Gary Tinoco. These numbers clearly show that the inmates are more at risk after the realignment.

The inmates are not only more violent, but they are also staying longer. County jails were previously used to host inmates who were waiting for trial or convicted of less serious offenses that took no more than a year. However, this changed after the realignment. The jails are now housing convicts who have been sentenced for up to 6 years.

According to the supervisors of some county jails, the inmates are settling in their bunks and personalizing their little spaces. They are trying to establish their home in that limited space. Officials say that the incidents of drugs being found inside the jails has increased significantly and most of these drugs are found in mail. In order to reduce this, some officials in the sheriff’s department are looking for systems that reduce contraband in jails like using emails instead of mail.

Some officials have even admitted to having used a higher security inmate to work in the jail kitchen which enhances security concerns. County jails have become homes for sophisticated convicts. Some of them are even trying to stress their dominance by taxing their fellow inmates. Officials are becoming more proactive to identify these inmates who are bringing trouble and transfer them to other jails. According to the president of the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs Tom Dominguez, county jails have become very dangerous and this must be acknowledged by the state.

Violence is on the Rise in Orange County Jails

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

A plan that was designed to reduce prisoners’ population in state prisons has had very negative effects on county jails in Orange County. According to the new state laws passed a few years ago, lower level criminals are transferred from state prisons to local jails in order to serve the remainder of their sentence. This move has made safety to be a serious concern in county jails.

The inmates who have been transferred from state prisons have become a high security risk. Some of them are parolees who have committed crimes and are sent back to custody. Others are offenders who have been sentenced to more than 6 years in jail. Before the state laws were passed, parolees used to be sent back to state prisons when they committed an offense.

One of the reasons for the increase in violence in local jails is that these prisoners come with a longer criminal background. They already have an established criminal history and the experience of living in prison. The convicts utilize this experience to hoard drugs and contraband in local jails. Others even form gangs and try to prove their power by taxing other inmates.

According to Sgt Gary Tinoco, who was recently in charge of the inmate classification unit in Orange County Sheriff’s Department, the state’s realignment has caused the dynamics of county jails to change. Officials also say that county jails have experienced a very rapid transformation after the new law. The responsibility of housing thousands of inmates was shifted from the state prison to the county governments.

The fact that many of these realigned inmates are serving longer sentences compared to local offenders is making the situation worse. Supervisors have found drugs and contraband being smuggled into the jail via mail. According to,” Assistant Sheriff Mike James, they have had to use higher security inmates to work in risky environments like the kitchen. This has increased the security concern even further. The jail officials have to keep an eye on the inmates who are assigned to work in that environment. This poses a risk for other inmates and the guards as well.

Housing has also become a challenge for county jails. Due to the rise of high-risk inmates, it has become difficult to decide where they will be placed inside the jails. Deputies are tasked to know where to place the inmates based on their history. The deputies have to keep an eye and identify inmates who are involved in gang politics and separate all the members. A high number of the realigned prisoners are taken to county jail after violating terms of their release. Most of these inmates have already spent time in state prisons so they present a higher risk.

The officials are taking various measures to reduce the rate of violence in county jails. The Sheriff’s Department is considering a plan for all deputies to be checking the inmates every hour. This move is intended to reduce the number of violent incidents that occur in county jails.

Bail Bonds and the Blame Game over Jail Overcrowding

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Bail bonds are an essential pretrial option offered by a bail bondsman in most states. Only four states, Illinois, Kentucky, Oregon and Wisconsin, prohibit this option and are experiencing a much higher level of county jail overpopulation and higher costs for taxpayers covering the housing fees. Those defendants are stuck in jail, pending trial dates. The very nature of state statutes that disallow commercial bail bonding companies dictates a larger number of people without the money to pay the expected fees to the county they are jailed in.  This creates the misguided assumption that all people in jail are guilty and shouldn’t be allowed the freedom between the time arrested and their scheduled court case date. Those that are considered non dangerous could be released if the laws abolishing commercial bail bonding were overturned.

The other circumstances those four states are creating is the ease of bail jumping and landing in any of those states to evade court. This further works against the bail bondsmen, bounty hunters, and insurance companies and court systems. Making them unable to capture and ensure their return to court, per the agreement. Bail bonding companies should ensure their agreements restrict bonded individuals from running to these states as a breach in the contract and immediate recovery via the secured funding or property. This could further reduce the 30% that never appear in court.

States with pretrial services are the states with overcrowded jails, increased costs in housing people till trial date and lack the availability of bonding out after assessing their level of risk. L. A. County in California has more issues with transporting due to the distance of over 800 miles and inmates housed in county jails till transportation is arranged. Is that figure and problem part of the misrepresented “finger pointing” at bail bonding agencies rather than inefficient transportation issues that accommodate a large number of defendants going to majorly distant prisons?

All four states recoup fees from the government at a much higher rate than states that do allow commercial bail bonding. So is it the fact that those four states are financially benefiting from this; while excluding free enterprise that ensures lower rates are necessary to house defendants and inmates. Understanding there are other contributing factors to overpopulated county jails, also clarifies that there is greater reduction in costs for states allowing bail bondsmen agents.

Allow people the option and alternative to bail out rather than sit in jail for days or months, leading up to the trial date. Free enterprise is necessary to ensure the option. It creates a valid financial reason for defendants to appear in court; while ensuring their freedom and innocence till proven guilty. Commercial bail bonding is a business that also contributes to the community, the state and insurance companies and the court’s ability to collect fees from those defendants. It further reduces the necessary costs states require as reimbursement for housing, as well.

Orange County Bail Bonds supports Bill Hunt for Sheriff of Orange County

Friday, February 12th, 2010

Orange County Bail Bonds is excited and proud to announce their support for Bill Hunt as the new Sheriff in Orange County. For 10 years we have watched the way the Orange County Jail system and the Sheriff’s Department has been run. We, the public, must demand that the system be changed! The community has suffered through the scandals of Sheriff Carona, now a convicted felon. The Grand Jury has investigated and found that our jails are being run by the inmates. According to the Grand Jury report; at least one inmate was beaten to death while the officers talked on their cell phones and watched TV. The tougher inmates are making huge sums of money by a threaten violence against new inmates, forcing them to call a specific attorney or Orange County bondsman, from whom they then get kick-backs. Illegal interviews are being allowed to take place as an unfair business practice by a few “bad apples” in the bail bond industry. Contact information is being leaked from within the jail, as bondsmen and attorneys cold-call families without ever being contacted by the inmate or anyone else on his behalf. This is strictly against the law! All this was brought to the attention of, then newly appointed, Sheriff Hutchens early in her tenure in office. Hutchens inherited a nightmare from her deposed predecessor and she should and was given a grace period to make these corrections. She has had over a year to correct these problems and she has seen fit not to do so. She has proven herself not capable of running one of the largest Sheriff’s Departments in our nation. It is time for a real change, a time for integrity, honesty and capability. Bill Hunt has all these qualities and is the Orange County Sheriff Department’s best chance to return to the glory days of Sheriff James Musick and Sheriff Brad Gates. Orange County Bail Bonds urges you to restore honor to Orange County and vote: Bill Hunt for Sheriff in 2010.

“The Sheriff should be in the business of protecting

people’s rights, not restricting them.” Bill Hunt 2005

____________________________________________ 2nd Amendment, CCW Protecting Your Constitutionally Guaranteed Rights! As your Sheriff, I will issue CCW’s to any applicant who is a law abiding resident of the county, meets state mandated requirements and is not prohibited by law from possessing a firearm. To me, personal protection is good cause. ____________________________________________ Fiscal Responsibility The Sheriff’s department budget is $800 million. In these difficult times, Orange County told our appointed Sheriff to cut 3% of the budget. She waited 8 months to find a mere 3 cents on the dollar and her plan was to fire cops. As your Sheriff, I will streamline the bloated bureaucracy, cut wasteful spending and enhance service and performance for our citizens. I will reform our jails, reform drug treatment and medical services, feed inmates in their cells, stop senior leaders from spiking their pensions and eliminate take home cars for non-first responders. ____________________________________________ Jail Reform It is the responsibility of the Sheriff to maintain our jails. I will not release inmates early to save money and expandspace. I will ensure we keep sentenced inmates in-custody for the duration of their sentence. I will not lease our jail space to the Federal Government for pennies on the dollar while citing and releasing local criminals back into the community. I worked every level of Orange County jails and I can change the culture. Morale and performance suffers when deputies serve 7 years in custody on average with no hope of other assignments. I will change this. I will charge a fee for inmate initiated medical visits and feed inmates in their cells. We will increase Orange County jail capacity; eliminate early releases, lower operating costs and reduce the need to build costly new jail facilities.