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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staff are exploring ways to help alleviate problems in the local criminal justice system caused by an undersized and outdated jail.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

Why don't you boost inmate capacity by adding pre-manufactured structures next to the existing jail?

We have researched this option, but it has been found to be impractical, unsafe, and outside current legal and building requirements. The temporary structures researched do not meet American Correctional Association (ACA) standards for inmate housing.

Oregon Revised Statute 169.076 (Standards for Oregon Correctional Facilities) requires all facilities to meet Oregon Structural Specialty Code, the standard building code for commercial buildings, with no exemptions. Manufactured buildings for commercial use must meet all of the same requirements as any newly constructed building and must be approved prior to use. That means State officials must visit the manufacturing plant and review of all their plans, documents, and designs to ensure compliance with Oregon codes.  Oregon has not approved any manufactured building for use as a correctional facility; state officials have told us that the likelihood they would is slim.  Further, the City Of Medford Site Plan and Architectural Commission (SPAC) would also be required to approve the plan, which is highly unlikely with current city requirements.  

The existing jail parking lot is not large enough to keep a fire lane, fire egress, and maintenance setbacks if multiple units were placed in the lot. Other practical issues that come up when considering this option include parking codes, plumbing, sprinklers, electrical, camera/security requirements, emergency power, and security challenges. Overall, it's simply not a safe, cost-effective alternative.

More info:

Oregon Building Codes and Standards

Medford Site Plan and Architectural Review