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article imageNew Policy For Taser Use In Orange County Jails

By KJ Mullins     Aug 19, 2008 in Crime
Orange county deputies will no longer use Tasers on inmates that are handcuffed or restrainted. The new policy has been adopted after the department was criticised on the use of stun guns in the jail setting.
On Monday Sheriff Sandra Hutchens announced the new policy that restricts the use of stun guns on restrained suspects unless they have "overtly assaultive behavior" that fails other control methods.
The new policy also states that deputies must use all other means of restraint before using a stun gun.
The new policy follows the deaths of two jail inmates, Michael Lass in 2007 and Jason Jesus Gomez, 35, this past March.
Taser use by the OC deputies has been under the microscope after The Register obtained video of jail deputies using the weapon on a man strapped to a chair and a female inmate being held down on the floor. Both of the inmates appeared to be subdues and in pain. Even more scrutiny came after reports that rookie deputies used a cat at Theo Lacy Jail in Orange as a Taser dart target.
A grand jury in June noted that Tasers had been used on 437 Orange County inmates between 2004 and 2007.
"There is major debate amongst experts as to whether the use of the Taser causes heart failure or death," the grand jury wrote, advising the sheriff's department to organize a panel to research whether stun guns are safe enough for routine use.
Theo Lacy Jail also had more to answer for. The grand jury found that deputies recruited bully prisoners to enforce the rules while they slept or played video games.
Theo Lacy now has security cameras in housing barracks and guards are forbidden to bring electronic devices to work.
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