Sheriff Discusses Inmate Releases
Information from Sheriff Nate Sickler regarding inmate releases:
There have been many questions and comments regarding the individuals we released from jail on April 29th, who were lodged on drug charges the day prior. I will try to explain how and why this happened.
On April 28th, the Oregon State Police stopped a vehicle in Jackson County and during their investigation the suspects were found with nearly 20 pounds of Methamphetamine. Two suspects were lodged on three charges each. On the 29th, the individuals were able to appear in court for their first arraignment. ICE placed a civil detainer on both individuals on the 29th.
By law, we are unable to honor these detainers and this has been the case for the last five years. ICE knows and understands this but they have to file them knowing they cannot be honored. We are allowed and do hold individuals if ICE has a criminal warrant or is charging individuals for crimes. In this case ICE was not pursing criminal charges when they placed the detainer.
The reason these individuals were released so quickly is due to the size of our facility. Pre-Covid we are forced to release thousands of people a year. We are now forced to further reduce our capacity in efforts to keep Covid out of our jail. This has caused significant issues with deciding who is kept and who stays in custody.
The reality is when you have some of the criminal issues we deal with in Jackson County it comes down to there are no good choices to who gets released from jail. We are not happy to have to force release anyone from custody but we have too many offenders and not enough bed space. This has been exacerbated by Covid - 19.
We strive to do our best at the Sheriff's Office and we always want to make the best decision to keep our community safe. Sometimes these decisions are difficult due to our resources. Additional bed space would certainly alleviate having to make these specific type of decisions and prevent individuals who present a threat to our community from being forced released from custody.
Please review the attached I- List (list of those in custody currently) and their charges. I think this will help some understand the predicament we are in.
Sheriff Nate Sickler