County Jail Must Resume Inmate Count for Lawyers

A federal judge Wednesday ordered Orange County Jail officials to resume reporting inmate population to lawyers who are challenging jail conditions.

Orange County Jail officials had stopped providing daily reports on the population at the main jail for men in Santa Ana about a month ago, according to American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Richard P. Herman, who filed the original lawsuit challenging jail conditions and overcrowding a decade ago.

After Herman complained, U.S. District Judge William P. Gray, in a telephone conference Wednesday, ordered that the regular reporting on numbers of inmates continue.

Last month Gray rejected a bid by Herman to dramatically expand the 13-year old jail litigation to include the entire penal system. But Gray said he would retain control over the existing lawsuit covering the main men's jail, which at one point led to contempt of court citations for Orange County Sheriff-Coroner Brad Gates and the Orange County Board of Supervisors for failure to improve jail conditions.

The reports cover daily jail population for the first seven days of each month, according to Herman.

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