Advertisement

The Region

Staged Fights Added to Suit Against O.C. Sheriff

July 25, 2002|MONTE MORIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A prisoners' rights lawyer alleged Wednesday that Orange County jail guards have arranged fights between inmates for the guards' entertainment.

Expanding a case filed recently against the Orange County Sheriff's Department, lawyer Richard Herman said guards have opened doors between groups of prisoners with opposing gang allegiances, in expectations that they would brawl. The suit also alleges that guards hold inmates in cells without mattresses and force them to stand naked.

The filing contained written statements by six inmates, one of whom wrote that "guards staged and watched inmate fights."

A spokesman for the Sheriff's Department said he could not comment specifically on the claims because the department had not yet received a copy of the suit. However, he did say that Orange County jails were considered to be among the best run in the nation.

The contempt suit, filed in federal court in Santa Ana, says the alleged activities violate a 1978 federal court order aimed at stemming jail overcrowding.

Herman, who served as the plaintiff attorney as the jails came under federal court review in the 1980s, contends that deputies are routinely disregarding jail policy, resulting in abuses at the jail.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|