OC sheriff announces retirement amid release of report alleging jail abuse

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- The sheriff of the Orange County Sheriff's Department announced Tuesday she's retiring and will not seek re-election.

The announcement came just hours after the American Civil Liberties Union released a scathing report alleging abuse and unsanitary conditions in the jail.

"People dying inside the Orange County jails, people being beaten up by custody staff, to even something like lack of medical care or mental health care," said Esther Lim, director of the ACLU.

MORE: Serious safety concerns flagged at ICE detention center in Orange

Abuse, lack of medical care and inhumane conditions are just a few allegations in the report released by the ACLU focused on the Orange County jail system.

The ACLU's Jails Project compiled data from more than 120 current and formerly incarcerated people.

"We're asking for real reforms to their policies. Some of these policies are things the sheriff's department has created on their own, or these are state policies that they violate," Lim added.

MORE: 3 inmates cut into plumbing tunnels to escape from OC jail

In response, the OCSD released a statement:

"The ACLU's findings are largely based on interviews and surveys of former inmates. While inmates certainly have a perspective to offer on our jail system, the failure to include the perspective of law enforcement has resulted in a report that only tells one side of the story," the statement read.

The report accuses OC Sheriff Sandra Hutchens of ignoring ongoing issues and complaints. It came the same day she announced her retirement in 2018.

MORE: Grand jury in OC says claims of illegal jailhouse informant program are a 'myth'

Her campaign spokesperson said she never planned to serve more than 10 years and the decision has nothing to do with the report, or the ongoing informant scandal or last year's jail escape.

"With her announcement of her retirement, I think it's time for Orange County, the board of supervisors to clean house," Lim added.
Copyright © 2020 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.