Alleged Murderers, Sex Offenders, Felons, Other Serious Crimes Fill Jackson County Jail (Photo)
We are regularly asked who is being held at the Jackson County jail. Many predict that a jail’s population consists of low-level charges related to a lapse of judgement due to drugs or alcohol. Here in Jackson County, our community’s jail is comprised of a very different type of alleged offender. Out of the 253 Adults-In-Custody (AIC) housed in our jail, nearly 100 are alleged to have committed serious crimes against persons (Measure 11). This includes 22 alleged murderers, and 35 alleged sex offenders. Due to the nature of these crimes and the potential danger to the public, more than half the jail’s population cannot be released pre-trial. The trial process can take months, or even years for more serious crimes. Every Measure 11 offender in our max-capacity jail means there is one less bed for low-level charges. Unfortunately, this also means Jackson County consistently leads the state in forced releases due to overcrowding.
County jails serve their respective communities in two main ways. First, jails offer a secure environment for those awaiting their opportunity to resolve alleged criminal charges. These individuals are in a “pre-trial” status. Due to the nature of their alleged crimes, the courts have decided that they should remain in custody until their case is resolved, either through a plea deal or upon culmination of a completed trial. The second kind of person held in a county jail is one who has been found guilty of a lower-tier crime and has been sentenced to serve jail time within the local jurisdiction. Due to the high number of pre-trial serious crime offenders currently in our jail system, very few AICs fit this description.
The Jackson County Jail’s population is almost entirely devoted to securing individuals who are in a pre-trial status. We simply do not have space to allow local jail sentences to be served. Our jail’s maximum capacity allows for 300 individuals to be housed within the facility at any given time. This number is based on best-practices for operating a safe facility given the total overall space. Currently, Covid-19 precautions have reduced the amount of available beds to approximately 250. This allows appropriate distancing and quarantine protocols as new people are brought into the jail and kept separate from the general population until verified healthy.
The Jackson County Jail population changes daily, as new individuals are brought in and others complete their obligation or move to another location. In order to maintain best practice safety protocols, supervisors constantly monitor the jail population to ensure the individuals occupying limited jail space are the highest risk to our community. These decisions are based on a variety of factors including, but not limited to: criminal history, current charges, and behavior/risk. As the numbers show, each and every release decision is difficult as the jail population is occupied almost entirely of individuals accused of serious crimes, and many with significant criminal history.
Hopefully, this information helps you understand the purpose of a county jail and gives you a picture of how much space we have in our community’s jail. So, back to the initial question, who is in our jail?
Here is a snapshot of the Jackson County jail population on the morning of September 27, 2021:
Current Jail Population - 253
- Pre-Trial Status - 215
- Measure 11 – Alleged to have committed serious person crimes which would face significant prison sentences if found guilty.
- 93 Total, including:
- 22 Murder
- 35 Sex Offense
- 6 Attempted Murder
- 3 Manslaughter
- Pre-Trial Felony - 73
- Federal Charges - 28
- Chronic Fail-to-Appear – 8
- Fugitive from another State – 8
- Municipal Charges – 3
- Out-of-County Warrant – 1
- Sentenced/Sanctioned – 38
- Parole/Probation Violation – 34
- Sentenced to Oregon Department of Corrections – 3
- Sentenced to local supervision - 2