Early inmate release prohibited

A judge Thursday refused to allow the Sheriff's Department to start releasing inmates early to ease jail overcrowding.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas Borris did not explain his decision. The district attorney's office had opposed the sheriff's plan, saying it believed the sheriff had enough available beds.

Testifying at a hearing in Santa Ana, Sheriff's Capt. Roland Chacon said the county's two largest jails were filled beyond capacity and that the department might need to release some inmates early if many people were arrested this holiday weekend.

Chacon said the department was placing some inmates in disciplinary isolation cells -- ordinarily reserved for inmates involved in violence or other disobedience -- and in medical facilities because they had run out of room.

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