The CURRENT State of Justice in JACO:
Why does Jackson County, OR need a NEW Jail?
For several months now, I’ve been attending Jail Advisory Committee Meetings, meeting with various people in public and non-profit positions, and trying to develop my own understanding of the need for the proposed Jail District. Who wants to pay more taxes? I mean really, most folks don’t want to pay more for anything. Taxes constantly grow, but with respect to the ongoing revolving door at the Jackson County Jail. WE NEED TO EXAMINE THIS VERY CLOSELY.
- We’ve heard all about the current 1980’s jail that has never really fit our county’s need. By now, most rational citizens, although it may sound great, understand that we can not legally have a tent city or other idea in passing.
- Heard presentations from recovered LOCAL addicts that were repeatedly arrested incarcerated that are now working in the recovery industry.
- Heard statistics and history on our current jail on a few occasions.
- Studied jail solutions, jail costs, and definitely local crime statistics for years now.
I’m no expert, but if you have been paying attention over the last 3 years, LOTS OF DATA has been discussed and presented. I’m just another citizen and business owner applying my own brand of common sense to discuss solutions for problems in our community… probably not much different than you. I’ve have just been hyper focused on understanding the overall situation we have been reporting on for over 5 years and want to share some details.
CRIME RATE CREEP & REDUCED JUSTICE due to lack of Jail space are likely the biggest problems we currently face in Jackson County Oregon.
In my day job, am a statistics guy, and work regularly with projections/forcasting/strategy relative to business marketing. My clients need me to analyze potential decisions. Similarly, our County Government does it’s best to track certain statistics and project needs. We are no longer at a point where we are projecting our community’s concerns relative to criminal justice. Mainly we just attempt to keep up with a “groundhog day” repeat situation with no potential for better. Now we are trying to catch up on the needs that were never filled relative to jail resources and criminal justice. Read on to learn about some of the statistics involved.
Mental Health Court Avg Stats:
- 15 Person Cap due to case load
- 43 Cases accepted recently
- 24-67 years old
- 16 of them accounted for 316 REPEAT ARRESTS
JACO MENTAL HEALTH COURT RESULTS:
- 62.7% (27/43) Received meaningful help resulting in no future or only minor future arrests.
- 2.3% (1/43) 1 Re-Offended & has Warrants
- 2.3% (1/43) 1 Succumbed to Suicide
- 32.5% (14/43) HAD SERVICES TERMINATED 14 Had Mental Health Court Assistance termintated generally due to personality disorders “KNOWN TO PREVENT RECOVERY” and must walk our streets re offending.
WHY WERE ALMOST 1/3 TERMINATED?
- 7 Were personality disorders, like multiple personalities, so you do not know who you are rehabilitating or who you will get on a specific day.
- 3 Had STRONG anti-social behavior that prevented helping them.
- 4 Could not get sober enough to take advantage of the opportunity no matter how much help they were given.
THE 33% DOOMED to walk the streets continuing to offend against our fine citizens, with the State not really taking mental hospital referrals due to the sheer volume. We also have no jail or mental health beds available, and even private beds like Asante’s’ Behavioral Health are always full. These offenders stay or are sent back to their originating county (Jackson) and re-offend without much cause or reason to get help.
THE 63% HELPED through Adult Drug Court, ROC Court, Oxford House, Treatment Court and Family Court were likely eligible for a prison sentence that they would not have served, due to lack of prison beds.
40-70% OF ALL OFFENDER NO-SHOW EVERY DAY IN COURT. Suspects scheduled for a court hearing do not show up and are issued a FTA (Failure to Appear) Warrant.
“I’ve never seen anything like this in (my) 21 years in Jackson County.”
~Lisa Grief, Jackson County Criminal & Mental Health Court Judge
DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE OPERATIONS
- 54 FTE (the equivalent of 54 full-time employees, though some may be part-time)
- 23 Deputy DA’s
- 7533 Cases in 2018-2019 Season
- AVE 327 cases/yr. for each Deputy DA.
Those are not acceptable working conditions that create long-term success in my personal opinion. Similar working conditions have been observed in the jail. We need to have more respect for our public employees and their families. We may have the best DA’s office, but I would argue that justice cannot be served on that kind of case load. Seems in-humane to the Deputies and Citizens’ interests. We all, including the DA agree that there are more plea bargains and lighter sentences due to space issues.
NORMAL SENTENCING GUIDELINES
CANNOT BE USED W/O SPACE FOR TERMS
WE’RE NOT ISSUING NORMAL SENTENCING
What is NORMAL Sentencing, which JaCo DA WOULD bring back and said so publicly if we had space?
- LEVEL 1: 20 Days in County
- LEVEL 2: 20-45 Days in County
- LEVEL 3: 75-100 Days in County
- LEVEL 4: 19-24 Months in Prison
WHAT ABOUT FAILURE TO APPEARS (FTA)?
- IN 2018 87 People made up 2500 of the FTA Arrests (Avg. 29 Arrests each)
- IN 2019 78 People made up 1500 of the FTA Arrests (Avg. 19 Arrests each)
- That trend data is incomplete for this year, but trending down, likely because we cannot arrest them as much as more offenders come on the scene.
“We are unable to hold them longer, so they detox and get healthier and in the frame of mind to be successful with rehabilitation.”
~Beth Heckert, Jackson County District Attorney
IS THERE COST IN *NOT* BUILDING A JAIL?
- The cost of labor from the Sheriff’s Department, Jail, DA’s Office, Public Defender’s Office, Probation Office and all of the different agencies and recover institutions is DAUNTING.
- The cost to the citizens in loss from theft, court time, time off of work and general interference in our day-to-day lives is also GRAND.
- The cost of businesses and residents protecting themselves from this problem is not only large, entire industries are built on it.
“We can take about 300 in the jail. Sometimes we rotate 3 per day in a cell because the jail is so small.”
Nathan Sickler, Sheriff of Jackson County, Oregon
WHAT DO WE DO? We ALREADY PAY in so many ways.
Imagine having a jail that took 600 of our worst offenders off the street instead of 300. The repeat offenses from those 300 offenders STOP. They get sober and can make better decisions with assertive assessment, referral to Mental Health & Drug Courts and it sounds like over 60% may stop offending.
DO COMMITTEE MEMBERS SEEM TO WANT THE JAIL?
Throughout this Jail Advisory Committee, 20-50 people from the community have attended and offered input. We have heard from addicts that say jail and programs helped them become recovery advocates. We have already heard from Law Enforcement, the Jail Commander, the Sheriff, multiple agencies, mental health and addiction treatment directors, judges, DA’s, parents of addicts and more.
I have YET TO HEAR ANYONE say we DON’T need a jail. Most I have heard is deep concern for a new jail not being a place to store people with mental health and addiction issues without helping them. THROUGHOUT discussions dating back YEARS, nobody has been about storing people. I’ve only heard positive things about offenders when they are no longer allowed to commit criminal activity. If they have had time in jail to detox, or be shown avenues for better mental health, addiction recovery and job skills it seems to be more effective than the national average. Repeatedly arresting people and ALLOWING them to FTA stacks them in debt and charges that make it harder for them to get their lives straight.
There is no other alternative. We can stand back and watch crime, illicit drug use and homelessness grow in our community… or we can take steps to reduce the ongoing problem. We have all seen videos from Seattle, San Francisco, L.A., San Diego, Portland and the like (Google Seattle is dying). We are a small community of thoughtful, friendly people. Let’s not go there.
My personal opinion, and I was originally skeptical:
IT IS TIME TO STAND UP FOR A NEW JACKSON COUNTY JAIL! OUR GRANDCHILDREN DESERVE A BETTER FUTURE.
Ryan Mallory, Owner
ThiefHunter Labs, LLC / Jackson County Scanner Group
Acto Enim Amor Patriae