Contributed By:

Rachel Sapin

An Update on the Lane County Jail Crisis

OPB | Aug. 1, 2012 9:06 a.m. | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 11:50 p.m.

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Photo courtesy of the Lane County Sheriff’s Office

Around 400 inmates have been granted early release from the Lane County Jail since it made budget cuts in late June. The county is keeping beds only for the offenders that rank as the most dangerous on its risk assessment tool.    

Among the inmates released in late June, there were three Measure 11 offenders who have been convicted of crimes as serious as manslaughter, and criminally negligent homicide. The county has also seen 17 early release offenders readmitted for robbery and assault charges since late June.

The case of 23-year-old James Vannoy made headlines this week. He was taken back to the county jail on charges of harassment only a day after being held for vandalizing a non-profit thrift store. 

The Lane County Sheriff’s July newsletter foreshadowed this revolving door effect. It stated that the 152 local beds left as a result of the closures were “a far reach from the estimated 1000 beds needed for a County the size and population of Lane.” 

Lane County Sheriff Tom Turner told us the root of the county’s funding problems is its unusually low property tax rate and the fact that much of the county lies on federal land that was once funded by timber sales. 

And with funding remaining an issue, the sheriff doesn’t expect to see relief for the county anytime soon. “It’s like continual musical chairs, except we have a finite amount of jail beds and an infinite number of suspects.” he says.

Have you been affected by the release of inmates at the Lane County Jail? What would you like to see done about it? 

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