OC jails must reduce inmate population after appeals court rejects sheriff

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- Hundreds of inmates in the Orange County jail could soon be released due to coronavirus.

The ACLU says an appeals court has just denied an effort by Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes to stop the release of half of the jail population.

"Sheriff Barnes must comply with the order and submit a plan to reduce the jail population. Doing so will save lives," the ACLU tweeted.

Earlier this month, an inmate died from COVID-19. The county has had 1,246 infected inmates as of Tuesday.

After the ACLU filed suit, a judge had ordered Barnes to reduce the county jail population by 50% as COVID-19 was spreading inside the facilities.

But Barnes was fighting the order, noting many of the inmates have been convicted of violent crimes. He said if he was ordered to release them, then the judge issuing that order "will have to go through line by line, name by name and tell me which ones he is ordering released."
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