Lane County Jail makes moves to create more capacity

Lane County Sheriff's Office terminating contract to house federal inmates

LANE COUNTY, Ore. - The Lane County Sheriff's Office is making moves to limit county criminals from early releases due to capacity issues.

There is a contract between Lane County Jail and the U.S. Marshal to house federal criminals in Lane County. In exchange, the U.S. Marshal pays the county.

It also keeps the jail staffed with county workers, but after nine years, the Sheriff's Office is terminating the agreement.

The Lane County Jail is trading federal dollars for more room for county criminals.

For the past nine years, the U.S. Marshals Service housed up to 50 inmates at a time in the Lane County Jail. The contract stabilized Lane County Deputies jobs, and the feds paid the county for their help.

"Our local community will benefit the most without having federal inmates in our jails," said Sheriff Byron Trapp, with the Lane County Sheriff's Office. "We were getting some revenue, but it was costing Lane County residents and I can't support that."

Sheriff Trapp says this is because it costs more to house the federal inmante than what they were getting paid for by the U.S. Marshal's Service.

"There is no way I can justify using local tax dollars to support the federal courts and federal inmates," said Sheriff Trapp. "And without that capacity we impact every community in Lane County."

Trapp says the 2013 levy solved a lot of problems, and now county residents are paying for county criminals, not federal offenders.

He says before the levy, dozens of criminals were released due to capacity issues, and some of them were violent offenders.

The levy has produced a 65 percent reduction of early releases on a monthly basis, but Sheriff Trapp still wants to see that number up. Which is why the county terminated the contract for more room for county offenders.

"There will be more local capacity," said Sheriff Trapp. "We won't be subsidizing federal services and our public safety system will be stronger because of it."

Sheriff Trapp says there will always be inmates released early because they simply don't have enough capacity for the area. However, Sheriff Trapp says the jail hasn't ran this well in years.

The contract is officially terminated in early February, and Sheriff Trapp says the county is working hard to employ more deputies for the jail. For more information, you can visit the Lane County Sheriff's Office website.

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