OC Upgrades Contract For Immigration Detainees At County Jail Despite Health Issues

SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — Officials voted Tuesday to add 120 beds to rent to the federal government for immigration detainees in Orange County despite a recent report on improper care and spoiled food being served at a county jail facility.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors voted to upgrade its “beds for feds” contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to boost the capacity in county jails from 838 to 958 beds through July 19, 2020.

Opponents of the move called on county supervisors to end the contract, noting the county’s Theo Lacy jail was cited for multiple health and safety issues, including moldy shower stalls, non-operational phones, garbage in cells, and failure to properly document complaints or grievances from detainees to ensure proper follow-up.

Some detainees were “being served, and reported being regularly served, meat that appeared to be spoiled”, according to the inspector general’s report.

Upon the board’s approval of the upgrade to the ICE contract, some audience members present at the meeting chanted “Shame!”, leading Chairwoman Michelle Steel to briefly gavel the meeting so sheriff’s deputies could clear the room.

Supervisors opted to meet privately a few minutes later to discussed closed-session items.

According to estimates, the county stands to rake in an additional $5 million if all the available beds are rented.

The head of the union which represents District Attorney investigators and deputies hailed the expansion of the program.

“We are supportive of the proposed contract,” said Tom Dominguez, president of the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs. “We have the beds, they have the money. That’s a good thing for Orange County taxpayers.”

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

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