- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 8, 2015

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - Lane County is opening up 41 beds at a Eugene jail in an attempt to reduce early releases due to overcrowding.

Capacity-based releases fell dramatically in the first year of a tax levy that provides funds to keep beds available, but more than doubled from last June to this summer, the Register-Guard reported (https://bit.ly/1NfKjO7).

Attrition as well as slow hiring and training for jail deputies meant the county didn’t have enough staff to keep 84 beds in Eugene open. The county announced Monday that about half of those beds would be made available.

Lane County Sheriff Byron Trapp says the county probably won’t be able to hire enough people to open all 84 beds by June.

“We have learned over the years that it’s really quick and expeditious in cutting budgets to lay people off,” Trapp said. “It is painfully slow to hire people back.”



He said while variety of factors influence capacity-based releases, data in the levy’s second year is closer to what the jail may consider the future norm.

“A 60 percent reduction in (capacity-based releases from the pre-levy period) is still a pretty darn good investment from the community,” he said.

By July, unspent levy dollars will total $15 million. Any money that remains after five years can be rolled over into the jail’s future budgets.

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Information from: The Register-Guard, https://www.registerguard.com

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