PRINEVILLE, OR -- The Crook County Sheriff’s Office now has more available jail space, thanks to increased funding for the fiscal year that began July first. Sheriff Jim Hensley says the county is now renting 25 beds at the Jefferson County Jail, taking Crook County’s total inmate capacity to 41. "The District Attorney’s office said they were quite amazed to have people to arraign on a Monday after the weekend’s arrests. Typically, in the past, we haven’t had beds to hold them and they just get released, and [the DA] might only have one arraignment. For the last couple weeks, they’ve had up to five people to arraign, and then they appear before the judge, like the system is supposed to work, and then they get released or held at the judge’s discretion."
However, Sheriff Hensley tells KBND he doesn't think the ability to hold everyone will last. "I believe this is short lived because we’re building back up to the numbers already. We only have 2 beds available now, and we still have a backlog of over 130 people waiting to serve jail time."
The number of beds rented from Jefferson County can fluctuate based on available funding, and has remained at 16 for the past eight years. During that time Hensley says they released an average of nine to 12 inmates per week. "We use the matrix system. It scores people on the seriousness of the charge, their criminal history, the types of things they’ve been convicted of in the past. And then, they’re scored amongst all of them. Then, those with the lower threat to the community, those are the ones that are released."
Sheriff Hensley says the money for nine more beds this year came from a county land sale, and may not be renewed next year.