The Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) received the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) report focused on the use of jailhouse informants from 2007 through 2016. The Department takes this matter very seriously and has worked diligently to address the issues.
For the last six years, the Department has worked to identify errors and protect the constitutional rights of all persons housed in the Orange County Jails. This includes significant procedural and operational improvements, unprecedented transparency, and multi-layered systems of checks and balances.
OCSD utilizes an objective process to house inmates without regard for any ongoing criminal investigations, and reviews classification of inmates to maintain safety and security in the jails. Management routinely audits custodial informant files, and policies and procedures are continually reviewed and revised. All these safeguards are intentional and help prevent future constitutional violations.
Additionally, ongoing training occurs at regular intervals across multiple levels of leadership within the Department. This training is not only formal, but OCSD leadership consciously includes informal training which strives to create a culture that values dialogue and reflection for continuous improvement.
The DOJ recognizes the important steps taken by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department to protect the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights of inmates. The Department will continue to collaborate with DOJ on identifying any further reforms beyond those already implemented, including working with the Orange County District Attorney’s Office to ensure the integrity of the Orange County criminal justice system remains intact.
“I take seriously the issue of protecting the constitutional rights of the people in our custody,” said Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes. “I look forward to the DOJ reviewing our current policies, processes and procedures regarding custodial informants. I am confident they will find our current practices have addressed many of their recommendations, and anticipate a prompt and complete resolution to this matter.”