This week, I want to shed light on the 2015 Special Corrections Grand Jury Report that was completed this year. Oregon state law requires that a grand jury shall inquire into the condition and management of every correctional facility and youth correction facility in the county at least once a year. This work is coordinated by an assigned assistant district attorney. Per the Jackson County District Attorney website:
Each year witnesses are called before the grand jury who represent a wide range of individuals whose lives and careers are affected by the operations of corrections in our community. They include government and political leaders, defense counsel, inmates, supervisory authority personnel and correction employees. The observations, conclusions and recommendations of the grand jury's annual report are based upon the testimony of these witnesses, from the facts and figures they provided, and from observations of the grand jury as it tours the county's correctional facilities.
I had the pleasure of personally offering testimony to the grand jury -- the first Jackson County Sheriff to do so in several years. We received good recommendations from the report and I have had the opportunity to address those recommendations. You can see my response and read the entire report, as well as previous reports, by clicking here: 2015 Special Corrections Grand Jury Report.
The one thing that stood out to me most is that the special grand jury found it apparent that the Jackson County Jail is understaffed. We at JCSO have been saying it for years, but the grand jury concurred that understaffing creates “a critical safety and morale issue.” Several previous grand jury reports have noted the same findings.
Staffing continues to be an issue in Jackson County. We have been working extremely hard to fill our jail staff vacancies. We are formulating a plan to get our staffing in order with the goal of opening up the basement of the jail in 2017, making room for more inmates.
I want to thank the District Attorney’s Office and the citizens of our community who were involved in this special corrections grand jury for their work. Please take the time to read the grand jury report to learn more about our corrections programs and our plans for the future.
Thank you for your support.
Sheriff Corey Falls