On Friday evening, a superior court judge ordered Orange County Sherriff Don Barnes to release over 1,800 inmates to allow for more social distancing in Orange County jails. The case, brought up by the ACLU alleges that the inmates were at risk due to “underlying health conditions”.
“As Chairwoman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, it is my number one priority to ensure the public safety and security of the people of Orange County. This reckless order to release 50% of the jail population, over 1,800 inmates, onto the streets of Orange County, many of whom are pre-trial or have been convicted of violent crimes, threatens our safety and will endanger our communities,” said Michelle Steel, Chairwoman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors. “Orange County has been implementing proper safety measures to protect our inmates from the virus. Under Sheriff Barnes leadership, there have been zero deaths in OC jails and only three hospitalizations. This move is unnecessary and does more harm than good."
First elected to the Orange County Board of Supervisors in 2014, Michelle Steel represents the residents of the Second District, which includes, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Huntington Beach, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Newport Beach, Seal Beach, Stanton, the unincorporated area of Rossmoor, and portions of Buena Park and Fountain Valley. Steel, a successful businesswoman and renowned taxpayer advocate, previously served as Vice Chair of the State Board of Equalization where she represented more than eight million people in Southern California, including all of Orange County, as one of the state’s 12 constitutional officers.