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September 22, 2021
You are here : Jail  >  New Jail Project
New Jail Project

Jackson County Sheriff's Office staff are exploring ways to help alleviate problems in the local criminal justice system caused by an undersized and outdated jail.  The goal of this website is to help educate citizens about the problem so we can work toward an effective solution.

The current jail was built in 1981, when Jackson County's population was 134,546, and was designed to hold 176 inmates.  In 1985, inmates sued Jackson County for overcrowded conditions; the settlement led to clear restrictions on the ability to house additional inmates within the current facility. 

In 2017, the jail handled approximately 14,000 lodgings.  Due to capacity restrictions, about half were released before they could appear in court or pay bail. Upon release, many offenders go on to commit additional crimes, to be lodged in jail, and to be released again.  This "revolving door" affects liveability in the community, and creates a strain on local resources.  

In 2018, Jackson County's population reached 215,000 and continues to grow.  Modifications to the jail now allow a total capacity of 300 inmates (315 overnight) - a capacity that is still inadequate to address the needs of the community.  

In 2019, Jackson County completed the purchase of a parcel of land in North Medford upon which to build a proposed new jail.  Efforts are currently under way to introduce a plan to voters to approve a service district to support future jail operations. 

Sheriff Sickler is available to present information about the jail project to local groups and organizations.  Please call (541) 770-8923 to make a request. 

This page is a work in progress and additional information will be added over time.  We hope you will find it useful. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the jail size have to do with the ability to prosecute suspects?

Because the Jackson County Jail doesn't have enough capacity to hold every inmate until trial or until they make bail, they are released back into the community with a promise to appear in court.  Many continue a pattern of committing crimes, being lodged in jail, and being released due to capacity restrictions - the proverbial "revolving door."  In many cases, by the time a suspect makes it to court, they have committed many crimes and often face prison time.  Conversely, a community with a larger corrections facility can hold inmates longer - allowing them time to take advantage of substance abuse prevention and mental health programs - removing the opportunity for repeat offenses.  When an inmate in jail appears in court when scheduled, they do not continuously rack up "failure to appear" warrants and prolong the time it takes to take a case a trial.  The community benefits from a larger jail because the criminal justice system is more efficient, and recidivism is likely reduced.