LANE COUNTY, Ore. (KMTR) -- One month after the Lane County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) made its last major cut from the Lane County Jail's budget, there’s new information detailing the number of inmates who have been released.
For the first time, LCSO has made public the number of inmates it has released from the jail between June and July 2012. June 26, 2012 marked the first of three days when more than 30 inmates were released at a time as a result of the elimination of 96 jail beds. Today, the Lane County Jail has 152 beds for local offenders.
LCSO reported releasing 386 inmates from the jail in the one month since the bed closures began. In the 31-day span, the release averages out to about 12 inmates per day. Of those inmates, seventeen have returned to jail on new charges; fourteen have returned to jail on warrants.
One of the repeat offenders is 32-year old Randy Joe Pealer. Pealer was originally releasd June 28, the third day of jail releases. Pealer was being held on two counts of Burglary 1, three counts of Criminal Trespass 1, two counts of Criminal Trespass 2, one count of Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle, one count of Burglary 2, one count of Theft 2, and one count of Criminal Mischief 2, with all of the charges referred by Oakridge Police.
Pealer told NewsSource 16, “They have nothing to fear from, I don't think they have nothing to fear from me because, like I said, I'm guilty until proven innocent . . . or how does that go?”
On July 14 Pealer was arrested again on several warrants and new charges including Burglary 2 and Providing False Information to Police. Pealer was released the same day.
The Lane County Sheriff’s Office says there’s not much it can do with what funds it has. LCSO uses an accredited risk assessment tool to help determine the least dangerous inmates to release. The tool takes several factors it to account, including prior history, court appearances and current charges.
"We're just taking the least dangerous people that we have so it's not a surprise to us that folks are going out and re-offending and being re-lodged for crimes," explained Sergeant Carrie Carver, a spokeswoman for the Lane County Sheriff’s Office. "And when you talk about it, I think the stats showed from June 26 to July 24, we had seventeen folks coming in on new charges. Those are just the seventeen people that we caught."
LCSO says it's fairly confident that there are crimes being committed they can't address due to the lack of available patrol services. Since July 1, LCSO has had sixteen patrol deputies on staff with patrol shifts lasting just eighteen hours rather than 24 .