EUGENE, Ore. -- Lane County Sheriff Byron Trapp said this year they're expected to release close to 2,000 inmates from the Lane County Jail early because they’re at capacity, which is fewer than in past years thanks to a Public Safety Levy that passed in 2013.
Sheriff Trapp said the year before the levy passed, they released more than 5,000 inmates early because they didn’t have the funding to keep enough jail beds open. Trapp said some of those inmates were charged with felonies and violent crimes.
Today, the jail can house up 367 inmates with 50 more beds added in February, a nearly 300 percent increase compared to 2012. While Sherriff Trapp said inmates that are being released early now are non-violent offenders, they’re still dealing with accountability issues.
“There are without a doubt a lot of cases of failure to appear where law enforcement sort of spin it's wheels ineffectively that we can continue to mitigate and reduce as we increase jail capacity,” Sheriff Trapp said.
According to reports from the Lane County Sheriff’s Office, 118 inmates were released early in May of this year, compared to 217 in 2017.
Right now there are no immediate plans to add more beds at the jail, but the sheriff’s office will review the issue again at the beginning of the next fiscal year.