Thirty-two inmates walked out of the Lane County Jail Thursday morning without serving their full sentence. The Sheriff has closed more jail beds because of a lack of funding.
Last June, the Lane County Sheriff reduced capacity at the jail by 100 beds because federal payments to timber counties have gone down and property taxes remain low. The Sheriff usually rents out beds to the U.S. Marshal's Service, but that has been down too.
With the latest cut, jail capacity is at 205 beds for a county nearly the size of the state of Connecticut.
Sheriff’s Captain Greg Fox says when releasing inmates, they try to avoid letting go of dangerous offenders.
“As we downsize further and are forced to release additional inmates, those inmates are going to be even more dangerous than what we were having to release prior to this additional closure.”
Some of the people released were charged with assault.
Fox says the only way to restore capacity is with more money. Lane County residents have rejected ballot measures to fund the jail multiple times.
Copyright 2012 KLCC