'Letting known felons or suspected felons walk around is kind of terrifying'
EUGENE, Ore. - For the third day in a row, inmates at the Lane County Jail walked away, after budget cuts forced jail beds to close. Eight of those 30 offenders released Thursday have been accused of violent crimes, including the driver accused of hitting and killing a pedestrian three weeks ago.
"Assault two, assault three, assault four felony, criminally negligent homicide, manslaughter," said Sargent Steve French, reading off a list of those released."These are the lowest risk offenders that we have in the jail at this time."
Of the 30 released from the Lane County Jail, three have been charged with homicide and manslaughter. According to the sheriff's office, they will now wear ankle monitoring devices to track their movements. Now those offenders are back on the streets, some with no place to go.
"I have a long road ahead of me," said one recently released inmate.
French said there is a concern there is a possibility that these offenders could continue to commit crimes. This concern is also felt by residents in the Eugene area.
"Letting known felons or suspected felons walk around is kind of terrifying," said Lane County resident Bob Silber.
Andrea Woods, who lives just outside Eugene city limits, said she is concerned for her safety and her children's safety.
"It's very unsettling," she said. "Especially bringing kids to the park and whatnot, I've definitely been keeping a closer eye."
French said he understands the community's concern, and reinforced that these criminals are being let out before jail officials consider them fit for re-entry into society.
"I would say that these are difficult cuts for the sheriff's office, they're difficult cuts for the community," he said.
With this most recent release, the jail has been reduced to 152 beds, that's down from 248 just days ago.