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How Lane County Determines Who Stays in Jail

EUGENE, Ore. — After three days of inmate releases due to budget cuts, only 150 inmates remain in the Lane County Jail.

This week we showed you inmates–many facing violent charges–being released back on to the streets. So who is left inside the jail?

People have asked us why the jail is holding inmates on drug charges and letting go of violent criminals.

According to District Attorney Alex Gardner, they assessed more than just a person’s current charge before letting them walk free.

On Wednesday, the last of 96 jail beds were taken out of operation and dozens of inmates were let go early, including three people accused of deadly crimes.

“We keep the people that represent the largest risk to society. It’s that simple,” Gardner said.

So if people accused of such violent crimes are now free, the question is, who did they keep locked up?

John Anthony Adams, who’s occupying a jail bed, is charged with second-degree theft, violation of police protection order and contempt of court.

How about Jonathan Paul Bryant? He’s charged with giving false information to police, failing to appear and being a fugitive from justice.

Neither man though is charged with taking a life, which is the case for three of the men who were let out Thursday.

“There’s the crime that they are currently charged with, and then there’s the remaining 99.9 percent of their lives,” Gardner said.

Gardner says just because you see an inmate with current charges that might not seem as significant as murder, he maintains there are other factors that come into play.

“It involves questioning and analysis or prior criminal history and pending charges and the person’s performance on prior probations and many other considerations, the extent of the family commitments, the ties to the community,” Gardner said.

The sheriff’s office says this tool has been validated and claims statistics show it works. But nothing can really predict the future.

“The tool is just a predictor though. We don’t have a magic ball to tell us who’s going to go out and commit more crimes,” said Sgt. Carrie Carver. “It’s not to say someone who we release isn’t going to go out and re-offend, but it gives us the best chance.”

The jail also leases out beds to other agencies like Eugene police. Some beds are also on federal hold. Those agencies can decide what they want to do with that space and what they want to hold someone for.

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