By WPPilot (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons 2012
By WPPilot (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons 2012
Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens will update the public Friday on improvements made at the Central Men’s Jail in Santa Ana in reaction to the escape of three inmates at the beginning of the year.

Sheriff’s officials have often said the jail, which was built in 1968, was badly in need of repairs and modernization, but there was a fresh urgency to improving it following the Jan. 22 escape of inmates Hossein Nayeri, Jonathan Tieu and Bac Duong, who were recaptured about a week later.

Tom Dominguez, the president of the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs, told City News Service that he is eager to hear what improvements were made.

“I’m as curious as (reporters) are what fixes and improvements there are,” Dominguez said. “I know they’ve been working on some infrastructure, especially in the Central men’s Jail. But the department, unfortunately, has not kept us informed what’s occurring to address our concerns.”

He added, “any improvements they make since the escape is a vast improvement, specially since the facility is as old as it is and was in such disrepair. It’s an antiquated facility.”

His union members have reported work has been underway.

“Based on the feedback I’ve been getting from deputies working there, they are making improvements,” Dominguez said.

After the jailbreak, the union sued the county, alleging that staffing cuts contributed to the escape.

“The staffing issues we brought up in our lawsuit are still unresolved and we’d like to get those addressed sooner than later,” Dominguez said. “Based on the feedback I’ve received from sheriff’s command staff, they’re going to be making moves in the right direction to get that taken care of and to improve the safety issues in the jail.”

A sticking point now, however, is what Dominguez refers to as “forced overtime” that his members are working.

“We have a forced overtime situation in the jail that is out of control,” he said.

—City News Service

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