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May 25, 2020
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staff are exploring ways to help alleviate problems in the local criminal justice system caused by an undersized and outdated jail.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 about sending inmates to the Josephine County jail? They have room.

Using a jail in a nearby county is more costly and complicated than it may seem.  Jackson County would need to come up with an estimated $3.5 million a year to house 75 inmates in the Josephine County jail – a figure that would still likely require voter approval.

The Josephine County Sheriff’s Office is currently in a state of growth as they work to fulfill their own commitment for recent voter-approved jail services.  Josephine County will have about 75 beds available after they reach their own capacity goal of 184 beds. However, they currently don’t have the staff to support their own commitment; it will be some time before they have completed hiring and training for new deputies and staff – a process that takes about a year for one employee. 

In order for Josephine County to house inmates from Jackson County, we would need to pay them to hire and train even more deputies and support staff.  To accommodate transfers from jail to court and other services, Jackson County would still need to add transport deputies at an additional cost.  While this would provide some relief to our current crisis, it is certainly not a long term solution – for Jackson or Josephine County.